Leukemia - Symptoms

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For leukemia, what were the symptoms and signs you experienced?

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Like all blood cells, leukemia cells travel through the body. The symptoms of leukemia depend on the number of leukemia cells and where these cells collect in the body.

People with chronic leukemia may not have symptoms. The doctor may find the disease during a routine blood test.

People with acute leukemia usually go to their doctor because they feel sick. If the brain is affected, they may have headaches, vomiting, confusion, loss of muscle control, or seizures. Leukemia also can affect other parts of the body such as the digestive tract, kidneys, lungs, heart, or testes.

Common symptoms of chronic or acute leukemia may include:

  • Swollen lymph nodes that usually don't hurt (especially lymph nodes in the neck or armpit)
  • Fevers or night sweats
  • Frequent infections
  • Feeling weak or tired
  • Bleeding and bruising easily (bleeding gums, purplish patches in the skin, or tiny red spots under the skin)
  • Swelling or discomfort in the abdomen (from a swollen spleen or liver)
  • Weight loss or loss of appetite for no known reason
  • Pain in the bones or joints

Most often, these symptoms are not due to cancer. An infection or other health problems may also cause these symptoms. Only a doctor can tell for sure.

Anyone with these symptoms should tell the doctor so that problems can be diagnosed and treated as early as possible.

Return to Leukemia

See what others are saying

Comment from: scorpioness, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: March 20

I"ve been having night sweats the last few months. I've been getting very tired very easy and have constant headaches. The doctors tested my blood and discovered my WBC count is slightly high. I'm awaiting more tests to see if it's a confirmation of leukemia.

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Comment from: cancerdude, 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: November 26

I am twenty and diagnosed with ALL (acute lymphocytic leukemia) and AML (acute myeloid leukemia). At first I started fainting frequently and I was diagnosed with syncope. My lymph nodes in my neck would get swollen once in a while and I had bad joint pain in my ankles. At one point I had an abscess. I didn't think anything of it so I just waited out the symptoms and they eventually disappeared. A few months later I went for a checkup and my doctor diagnosed me with anemia and wanted more tests done. Five rounds of chemotherapy later I am in remission and heading to transplant. All I can say is if you're diagnosed with leukemia, trust your doctors and keep your hope up and stay as active as possible.

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