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Leukemia Center

Leukemia Symptoms

Symptoms of leukemia
Like all blood cells, leukemia cells travel through the body. The symptoms of leukemia will depend upon the number of leukemia cells that are in the body and where these cells collect in the body. People with certain types of leukemia may not even manifest symptoms, or symptoms may be slow to progress.  Presentation of symptoms of leukemia differ for each type of leukemia, but common leukemia symptoms include the following:

  • bleeding easily (bleeding gums)
  • bruising easily (purple patches or red spots under the skin)
  • bone pain or tenderness
  • enlarged liver
  • enlarged spleen
  • excessive sweating, especially at night
  • feeling weak or tired 
  • fever or chills
  • frequent infections
  • loss of appetite
  • pain in the bones
  • pain in the joints
  • shortness of breath during activity
  • swelling or discomfort in the abdomen
  • swollen lymph nodes that usually don't hurt (esp. neck or armpit) 
  • tiny red spots on the skin
  • weight loss for no known reason 

People experiencing an acute case of leukemia may also experience headaches, vomiting, confusion, loss of muscle control, or seizures.  Leukemia can affect other parts of the body such as the digestive tract, kidneys, lungs, heart, or testes. But most often, the symptoms listed above are not due to cancer. An infection or other health problems may also cause these symptoms. However, only a doctor can tell for sure.

When to seek help
People who are experiencing acute leukemia usually go to their doctor because they feel sick and may exhibit more extreme symptoms. Anyone who manifests any signs or symptoms of leukemia should inform a doctor so that problems can be diagnosed and treated as early as possible.

If you suspect that you may have leukemia or another type of cancer, schedule an appointment with you family doctor. The next section discusses how your doctor can confirm or exclude a leukemia diagnosis for you or someone else. Continue reading to learn more about the tests, procedures and exams that doctors use to be prepare yourself for a visit to the doctor's office when you exhibit warning signs of leukemia.

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