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Queensland blood cancer deaths highest in a decade

The number of Queenslanders dying from blood cancer has reached its highest point since 2005, according to new statistics released today (March 08).

Latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show 837 people in Queensland died from leukaemia, lymphoma, myeloma or a related blood disorder in 2014.

The numbers dying represent a 12% increase on the previous year.

Blood cancers now account for more than nine per cent of all cancer deaths in Queensland, and they claim more lives than breast cancer or melanoma.

“In most cases the exact cause of a blood cancer diagnosis remains unknown – and that’s unacceptable,” Bill Petch, CEO of the Leukaemia Foundation of Queensland, said.

“If we’re to beat blood cancer we must understand it better and that’s why the tireless work of our cancer researchers and scientists is so important.

“The fact 837 Queenslanders sadly lost their lives to blood cancer in a single year shows us there is still much work to be done finding better treatments for patients and improving their quality of life.”

Blood cancers are the most common cancer diagnosis among children.

Four-year-old Anthony Kerrison from Bellbowrie was diagnosed with leukaemia on 11 January 2016.  He was rushed to hospital with a fever and by the next morning he was having his first treatment for the blood cancer. His blood was 89% leukaemic which required urgent care.

Anthony’s mum, Adele Kerrison, said: “We became part of the statistic when our four-year-old beautiful, active, funny and smart little boy was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.”

Adele is joining her family in shaving her head during World’s Greatest Shave this week in a public show of support for her son while raising money for blood cancer research.

“This is the least we can do to show our support for our little warrior fighting this dreaded disease,” she added.

Get involved in World’s Greatest Shave at worldsgreatestshave.com and help the Leukaemia Foundation beat blood cancer.

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