Letter - Bike event shows need for urgency over blood cancer

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I hope the Wakefield Bikeathon is a huge success.

The running of events for research for improved leukaemia treatment shows the urgency for improved treatments, however the causes of leukaemia and conditions which are precursor to leukaemia are well documented which means there is scope for prevention.

Suffering from severe aplastic anaemia some years ago following exposure to toxic chemicals I came into contact with many others suffering this and many other related bone marrow disorders which are precursor conditions to leukaemia and other cancers.

I found in every case there had been exposure to a known causative agent in the weeks and months before diagnosis but that most sufferers were told there was no known cause.

Answers to questions I had asked in parliament on 11.1.1989 listed many known causes of the blood disorders known to be precursor to leukaemia such as in solvent abuse, pesticides, many prescribed drugs and radiation.

Some of the causative agents have now been restricted or banned but many are still widely used and the effects unknown to most of the population.

I also observed that the precursor blood disorders conditions to leukaemia could be stable for years until there was another exposure to a known causative agent when a change could be brought about rapidly.

Modern day genetics confirms all this with exposure to causative agents causing mutations to cells leading to shortening of strands of DNA, telomeres, which protect chromosomes.

We urgently need more research into better treatment of leukaemia and other cancers but, as is clearly demonstrated in the cell mutations caused by smoking and solvent exposure, there is a lot more could be

done in the way of prevention.

Edward Priestley

Well Green Lane