Blood cancer, or leukaemia, symptoms can easily be misinterpreted, or put down to another condition
Early warning signs might include fever, tiredness and chest pain.
Leukaemia is caused by problems with cells inside bones, which as a result create blood cells that don’t work properly.
Hannah Bracegirdle, 36, from Lancashire was pregnant with her third child when she was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia.
She felt the warning signs were just due to her pregnancy, and stresses of daily life.
“Nothing at all made me think I had the condition,” Hannah told express.co.uk.
“I didn’t really have any symptoms of leukaemia. I was feeling tired all the time, but I put that down to being pregnant and having two little children to look after.
“I was only three months pregnant as well but looked a bit further on. That was because my spleen was enlarged.”
Sarah Porch, Head of Information and Support services at the blood cancer charity Bloodwise said it was “really easy to [explain away symptoms] by what is happening in our everyday lives”.
“Fatigue is a common symptom, but so is back pain, swelling, night sweats, unusual bleeding and unexplained weight loss,” she added.
“Sometimes patients can experience many of these symptoms before their diagnosis and sometimes just one.”
“While the odds of developing leukemia during pregnancy are very low, it does happen and there aren’t standard guidelines for how many types of leukemia should be treated in these circumstances.”
As soon as she was diagnosed, Doctor’s suggested an abortion but Hannah refused.
“I wasn’t up for that at all,” she said.
She endured weekly treatments of blood cleaning, to remove cancerous cells, and then a caesarean when she gave birth.
“After I gave birth, the next day doctors put me on the recommended treatment,” Hannah continued.
It took a further six years before Hannah’s cancer finally went into remission.
Luckily her third child, Joel, was born healthy and without problems. This March the family celebrated his tenth birthday.
“Hannah’s story is truly inspirational,” said Alastair Richards, CEO of North West Cancer Research, a charity funding research into treating the condition.
To help fund life-saving cancer research projects, Hannah is doing a 300-mile cycle ride across Lancashire, North Wales.
She is hoping to raise as much as £1,600 by completing the four day route across Lancaster and Liverpool.
“The fact that Hannah is living with cancer shows how far research has come and with more funding into the disease, we hope to see more people overcome and live happy lives with it,” added Alastair.
“Without the funding in research from charities like North West Cancer Research, I might not be here today to tell my story, which is why I decided to take part,” said Hannah.
Top Photo: Hannah with her three children Joel (10), Noah (11) and Sophie (14) and her husband John (44)