Sowerby Bridge woman backs Leukaemia UK manifesto demanding better for those affected by ‘neglected’ form of cancer

A Calderdale woman who went to A&E six times in two months before she was eventually diagnosed with leukaemia is backing a call for a better deal from the next government for those affected by the ‘neglected’ blood cancer.
Tammy GuideTammy Guide
Tammy Guide

Leukaemia UK has launched a manifesto which is calling on all political party leaders to save and improve more lives amongst patients diagnosed with leukaemia.

Looking ahead to the forthcoming general election, Leukaemia UK wants the next government to publish a cancer strategy in its first year. The charity has identified four priorities for the strategy, helped by a group of nearly 300 people affected by the blood cancer. These include more research, earlier diagnosis, improved access to treatments and better health data on leukaemia.

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The manifesto is being supported by Tammy Guide, 52, from Sowerby Bridge. Tammy lost count of the number of times she visited her GP in 2020 with symptoms ranging from lumps on her body and weakness, to high temperatures and sweating.

She also went to A&E six times. By the time she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia through another routine blood test for a separate condition, she was so weak she could hardly walk.

Tammy has received several rounds of chemotherapy and has had a stem cell transplant but cannot have any more of either as she has reached the maximum she can have. She is now on a newly-researched drug for life, and has had to give up her office job.

Tammy said: “I was fobbed off time after time and sent home. By the time they told me I had leukaemia I was struggling to walk.

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"I was also told I had only months to live and if there was anything I wanted to do or places to see then I must not wait to do it.

"But they then said that a new tablet was available, although it had only a 30 per cent success rate. I had no choice but to try it - I wanted to live

" I am stable on medication but my consultant has told me it will eventually stop working. I don’t know when and I would rather live in ignorance.” 

Fiona Hazell, chief executive of Leukaemia UK, said: “Every day 27 people in the UK are diagnosed with leukaemia.

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"Leukaemia is also the most common cancer among children, making up almost a third of childhood cancers. 

"Yet despite this, leukaemia has been neglected by successive governments, and as a result survival rates remain low – acute myeloid leukaemia, for example, has a five-year survival rate of around 14 per cent, compared to an average of 55 per cent across all cancers in England.

"As Tammy’s experience shows, while organisations like Leukaemia UK are making a real impact in accelerating progress through research, there is still much to be done to improve both survival rates and quality of life for those affected by leukaemia and to bring them more in line with other types of cancer.   

 ”This year sees a once in a generation opportunity where we have the power to harness the life-changing power of research, data and technology to change the future for leukaemia patients.  We must demand better to stop the devastation it causes to families across the UK every year.”