Medical Questions > Cancer > Leukemia Forum

Enlarged spleen : leukemia or infection ?

User Profile
I am a 33 yo male who has been healthy up until about a yr ago. For the past year I have become very fatigued; just basically no energy. I saw a dr for an unrelated problem (sudden rapid heart rate) that was diagnosed as benign. However, the bloodwork showed that my white cell count was high at 18. The Dr Didn't seem too concerned and took no action. I later developed a pain in my side under my ribs where the spleen is located. It lasted for about 2 months and went away. I had started to be concerned but when it went away I put it out of my mind. Another episode of svt sent me to the Dr. Again. Still it was determined to be no big deal but the bloodwork showed I still had a high white count at 15. I didn't tell him about the pain as it was gone then. Then pain has returned after 2 months of being gone. I am still exhausted as usual with the pain and headaches now and a general achiness. My question is would an enlarged spleen from leukemia or other cancer come and go like that? Thanks.


Did you find this post helpful?
First Helper User Profile DoctorQuestion
|

User Profile
replied June 26th, 2007
Leukemia Answer A2989
Pain under left ribcage doesn’t mean that you are experiencing an enlarged spleen. If the spleen was enlarged it could be palpated. Normal spleens can’t be registered on palpation. Enlarged spleens can be due to many reasons including leukemia.

A high white blood count is usually caused by infection. Leukemia is also possible, although it occurs much less frequently than infection. During leukemia not only is the white blood count increased, but also there are pathologic forms of white blood cells (WBC) present in the blood.

Increased granulocytes indicate a bacterial infection while increased lymphocytes indicate a viral infection. Extremely increased WBC (above 50000/ml which is not in your case) is a case that is a suspect for leukemia, but as I said previously, pathologic forms of WBC should be detected in the blood to confirm leukemia. It seems likely that in your case, infection is a more probably explanation than leukemia. You should visit your GP and eventually an internist for further diagnostic procedures including a differential blood count.



|
Did you find this post helpful?
Must Read
Got pain under your left side ribs? Is your left abdomen swollen or tender to touch? You might be dealing with a problem related to the spleen!...
Certain diseases can cause the spleen to swell to several times its normal size. Learn the signs and symptoms of spleen problems here....
An enlarged spleen is the result of an underlying disorder. What spleen disorders do doctors consider during diagnosis? What tests do they use?...
DISCLAIMER: "Ask a Doctor" questions are answered by certified physicians and other medical professionals. For more information about experts participating in the "Ask a Doctor" Network, please visit our medical experts page. You may also visit our Leukemia , for moderated patient to patient support and information.

The information provided on eHealth Forum is designed to improve, not replace, the relationship between a patient and his/her own physician. Personal consultation(s) with a qualified medical professional is the proper means for diagnosing any medical condition.