Sam Neill, the 76-year-old actor battling angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma, a rare blood cancer, has shared his resolve not to fear death.
Sam Neill is prepared
Despite undergoing unsuccessful chemotherapy, Neill has started an experimental drug treatment.
He acknowledges that the drug’s effectiveness will eventually wane, but he remains prepared, DailyMail reports.
AITL symptoms include fever, night sweats, rashes, and autoimmune disorders. Neill’s revelation sheds light on the broader signs of blood cancer, urging awareness and understanding.
He’s been told by his doctors that one day the drug will stop working, which he says he is ‘prepared for’.
Here are six warning signs of blood cancer.
Feeling tired even after getting enough sleep and rest could be a sign of anaemia.
Caused by a low level of red blood cells — which carry oxygen around the body — anaemia can make you feel tired, breathless and look pale.
Although this can be a sign of food deficiencies, such as not getting enough iron in your diet, Blood Cancer UK warns it is also a potential warning sign of blood cancer.
To check if you are anaemic, experts suggest pulling down your lower eyelid. If you are anaemic it will look pale pink instead of dark pink or red.
Other symptoms of anaemia include feeling faint and having headaches, according to the charity.
‘They show as darker or a different colour to the skin around them and may feel tender when you touch them’, the charity warns.
This unexplained bruising can also appear as a rash. It may show as small spots in the skin or as larger discoloured patches, says Blood Cancer UK.
On black and brown skin, these patches and spots can look purple or darker than the surrounding skin.
On lighter skin, it usually shows as red or purple.
Neill also revealed he has been in remission for 12 months thanks to an anti-cancer drug, but admits he is ‘prepared’ for the fact that it will eventually stop working.
Blood cancer can cause persistent, recurrent and severe infections.
That’s because those with the disease have lower levels of white blood cells, which usually help to fight infection.
A high temperature of 38C (100.4F) or above, even if there is no obvious sign of infection, could also be a sign of the disease, warns Blood Cancer UK.
In some cases, people with a type of blood cancer, called lymphoma, experience drenching night sweats.
The cause of these night sweats in unclear, the charity says.
Lumps and swellings
Pain in your stomach can be another sign of blood cancer.
It is caused by abnormal blood cells building up in the spleen, says Blood Cancer UK.
This can trigger swelling and feelings of fullness after only eating a small amount.
Some people feel discomfort and pain in the abdominal area, as well as bloating.
You may also experience pain under your ribs on the left side, the charity says.
Unexplained weight loss
Losing weight without trying can be a sign of blood cancer.
Some forms of the disease use up energy the body would otherwise use or store, according to Cancer Research UK.
It adds: ‘Rarely, an enlarged spleen may also increase the weight loss by squashing your stomach and making you feel full more quickly than usual. You may then eat less than normal.’
However, some people lose weight even when they are eating normally.
This is called cachexia, where your body doesn’t absorb all the fat, protein and carbohydrates from food and burns calories faster than normal.