Those diagnosed with a blood cancer go through a gruelling regime of treatment.
Those diagnosed with a blood cancer go through a gruelling regime of treatment.

The emotional stress of blood cancer

A FRACTURED foot, three broken ribs and crushed vertebrates for no apparent reason were serious signs something was wrong for Lismore local Cherryl Phelps.

Since being diagnosed with with multiple myeloma in August 2015, Ms Phelps has been through a long list of medication and treatments and an auto stem cell transplant.

Ms Phelps said the leukaemia foundation has helped her from the beginning and has assisted in paying for groceries, organised travel and covered accommodation costs for herself and family members.

"The leukaemia foundation has been marvellous to me, they have helped me in every way," Ms Phelps said.

"They offered counselling and partially assisted me with funds for a wig when my hair fell out.

"An amazing thing they did was joining me with a blood buddy - someone to talk to who had been through the same thing."

Now, Australia's blood cancer death rate is the highest it has been in a decade and with diagnosis rates climbing, the Leukaemia Foundation urged the North Coast community to help raise $700,000 to provide urgent support and decrease the stress put on families.

Every two hours someone in Australia will lose their life to a blood cancer, and each day 35 more people will be diagnosed.

Analysis by the Leukaemia Foundation reveals that those Australians facing a blood cancer diagnosis encounter unique emotional stress compared to that experienced by other cancer patients.

The Leukaemia Foundation's CEO Bill Petch said there were a number of factors that contribute to high emotional stress in patients, however it is the long and intense nature of blood cancer treatment which puts these patients in a different category.

"Treatment and recovery for acute blood cancer can be as long as three years, while some chronic blood cancers require lifelong treatment," Mr Petch said.

"Many people have to uproot their families and leave their home to be close to treatment, often with little notice and no idea of where they'll stay or how long they'll be away. They leave behind their jobs and houses which put families under huge stress.

"They experience a heightened sense of shock, anger, and denial and are burdened by worries for the future including financial or family problems," he said.

Ms Phelps said she keep a positive outlook on life despite recent hardships.

"I think of it (cancer) as a speed bump - you just get over that bump and keep going," she said.

A tax deductable donation of $28 will give parents an information pack to help make the right treatment choices and $52 can help provide them with a one-on-one visit from a blood cancer support officer to help guide them through.

Donate online at www.leukaemia.org.au or call 1800 620 420.


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