Bridlington resident Alice Scanlon joins campaign to raise awareness of leukaemia after her diagnosis at age 66

When Alice was told she had leukaemia, she assumed she’d been handed a death sentence, but that thankfully wasn’t the case.

By Louise Perrin
Wednesday, 13th October 2021, 3:31 pm
Alice Scanlon
Alice Scanlon

Bridlington' s Alice Scanlon has shared the very personal story of her leukaemia diagnosis, in the hope that others in a similar position may recognise the symptoms.

Alice said: "I was 66 when I was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL).

"My only symptom prior to diagnosis was a small lump on the right side of my neck.

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"I noticed it after having some vaccinations for travelling to Asia, and my GP assumed the lump was a result of the jabs.

"When I was then hospitalised with a stomach bug, and the lump only grew bigger,

"I went back to my GP. He was lovely, but still didn’t think it was a problem and thought it may have been a little cyst on my lymph node.

"Before removing it, he suggested I might be better having an ultrasound."

From there, the story progressed very quickly. The ultrasound showed that Alice may have something a little more serious going on and she was referred to a Maxillofacial Consultant.

The consultant was convinced that it was nothing nasty, but ordered blood tests, just to be certain.

Whilst having a CT scan, and assuming the ultrasound had come back clear, Alice asked the nurse exactly what they were scanning for.

Alice said: "I was shocked when she said they were checking to see “if the cancer had spread anywhere else.”

"When the blood test results returned, they revealed I in fact had CLL, but I was told it didn’t need treatment.

"I had never heard of CLL, but I had heard of leukaemia and thought I was going to die!"

Alice made a point of finding out as much as possible about CLL.

She joined the CLL Support Association (CLLSA) and went to and spoke at a conference in Newcastle.

Just before the COVID-19 pandemic, she was in the process of starting a support group.

On August 9, 2021, it was decided that Alice should start treatment. Her blood tests had shown a further increase in white cells and she began treatment with the drug Acalabrutinib.

Alice has maintained her cheerful disposition and positive attitude throughout. She said: "I am very optimistic and confident that I can handle this treatment.

"I know that CLLSA and Leukaemia Care are there to support me, plus I am lucky with my husband Tony and masses of good friends.

"My consultant, Dr Laura Munro, and my very special nurse, Vicky Dixon, are always there for me.

"It is more than ever very important for me to stress the need for people to insist that they get thoroughly checked out even with the most insignificant of symptoms.

"I know that if that little lump hadn't come up on my neck, I wouldn't have gone to my GP or given a thought to it being CLL.

"When the lymph nodes under my arms appeared, I would most likely have run as fast as possible, thinking it might be breast cancer.

"I’m supporting Spot Leukaemia as anything which helps people spot the symptoms and accept the diagnosis of leukaemia is vital."

You can find out more about CLL by visiting the CLL Support website.