Johnson & Johnson and the UK’s leading blood cancer patient support groups have announced a new campaign, dubbed ‘Make Blood Cancer Visible’, with aims to improve earlier recognition and diagnosis of blood cancer by increasing awareness of the signs and symptoms.

Along side the campaign, the company has released a short documentary and five mini-films, outlining the symptoms that led patients to their diagnosis, as early detection of cancer saves lives.

There are over 100 different types of blood cancers and related conditions, and most types of blood cancer are rare, life threatening conditions.

Dr Pawan Randev, GP trainer, primary care lead East Midlands Cancer Alliance, said, “Primary care awareness of blood cancers matters to patients and to ourselves – we have probably all missed opportunities to diagnose earlier. By providing primary care teams with useful educational resources, we can play a key part in improving services and supporting positive patient outcomes.”

Blood cancer is the 5th most common cancer and the 3rd biggest cancer killer in the UK, claiming more lives each year than either breast or prostate cancer.

Despite this, there is still low awareness of blood cancer and its symptoms, with patients visiting their GP more times than those with any other type of cancer before receiving a diagnosis.

This is as the “symptoms of blood cancer can be vague, and often confused with other, less serious conditions, making it difficult to spot the signs”, explained Gemma Peters, CEO of Bloodwise.

She continued, “We know that outcomes are usually much more positive when people are diagnosed earlier, so that’s why we are encouraging everyone to be aware of symptoms to look out for.

“The Make Blood Cancer Visible campaign is helping to increase awareness of these and we ask anyone who feels that they have any symptoms that are persistent, unexplained or unusual for them, to speak to their GP.”