Photo: Matthew Critchley

Michele was diagnosed with Polycythaemia Vera when she was 47. For some time she had been feeling excessively tired and unusually breathless. Her GP took a blood test which showed that she had five times as many red blood cells as she should have. She had Polycythaemia Vera, one of a group of blood cancers known as the Myeloproliferative Neoplasms. Initial treatment was to take a pint of blood from her [venesection] and this was repeated every month for two years. She then started chemotherapy with the tablet Hydroxycarbamide and so far has not needed further venesection. Sadly her fatigue persists and she is vulnerable to infections which significantly reduces the quality of her life. Life expectancy for PV continues to improve as treatments are developed and the genetics associated with the condition are better understood.