MANY people suffer from back pain and most of the time it's nothing to worry about.
You might experience discomfort if you've pulled a muscle or even if you've slept in an awkward position.
But one expert has warned that you should always trust your gut when it comes to pain and seek medical attention – as it could be down to a silent killer.
Dr Sophie Castell explained that unexplained aches could be a sign of myeloma.
The blood cancer is often missed as symptoms could be mistaken for everyday issues.
The Sun previously revealed that one woman tragically died of blood cancer after initially experiencing symptoms such as tiredness and fatigue.
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This week is myeloma awareness week and charity Myeloma UK is urging the public to trust their instincts and to go to their GP if something doesn’t feel right.
Dr Castell said: "Trust your gut. If you’re not feeling yourself, have persistent and unexplained back pain, severe fatigue or repeated infections you simply can’t shake, I would encourage you to visit your GP.
“The symptoms of myeloma are vague and can often seem unrelated or appear at different times, so if you think there's more to it than run-of-the-mill tiredness, a pulled muscle or old age.
"If your symptoms just aren’t going away – please keep pushing or ask for a second opinion.
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"It might take more than one appointment for your doctor to put the pieces of the puzzle together.”
Myeloma is treatable if caught early but around one in four patients wait more than 10 months for a diagnosis.
Around 34 per cent of patients go to their GP at least three times before getting a diagnosis.
A simple blood test can pick up the illness and delays in treatment have shown to have a huge impact on quality of life.
Dr Castell said that early diagnosis is crucial.
What is myeloma and what are the signs?
Myeloma is a cancer that begins in the plasma cells, a type of white blood cell which is made in the bone marrow.
Plasma cells form part of your immune system.
Normal plasma cells produce antibodies, also called immunoglobulins, to help fight infection.
In myeloma, plasma cells become abnormal, multiply uncontrollably and release only one type of antibody known as paraprotein, which has no useful function.
Unlike many cancers, myeloma does not exist as a lump or tumour.
Most of the complications arise from a build-up of abnormal plasma cells in the bone marrow.
Treatment is often aimed at controlling the symptoms of myeloma with a combination of drugs.
What are the signs?
- bone pain
- bone fractures
- spinal cord compression
- pins and needles
- repeated infections
- raised calcium levels in the blood
- unusual bleeding
- thickened blood
- kidney problems
"Yet we know that half of all myeloma patients are diagnosed late, by which point many have broken bones or spines, irreversible kidney damage and other complications.
"This means their potential to live well is severely restricted, no matter what treatments they end up receiving.”
The charity is urging people to come forward with symptoms after diagnosis of the condition dropped during the coronavirus pandemic.
Data shows that confirmed cases were down 13 per cent compared with pre-Covid expectations.
The experts say that this translates to more than 500 fewer people being diagnosed with the illness than would usually be expected.
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And Dr Castell said the situation is likely to get worse.
"Already, myeloma has seen one of the biggest drops in diagnoses in England since the first lockdown and we are worried that this could lead to a rise in the number of people who are diagnosed late and experience severe complications," she added.
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