In this Article
- Leukemia facts*
- What is leukemia?
- What are the types of leukemia?
- Who is at risk for leukemia?
- What are symptoms of leukemia?
- How is leukemia diagnosed?
- How is leukemia treated?
- How does someone get a second opinion about leukemia treatment?
- What happens after treatment for leukemia?
- How important is nutrition and physical activity for leukemia patients?
- What sort of follow-up care do leukemia patients need?
- What are some sources of support?
- What research is being done for leukemia?
- What resources are available to patients with leukemia?
- Take the Leukemia Quiz!
- Cancer Prevention Slideshow
- Cancer Symptoms Women Ignore
- Leukemia FAQs
- Find a local Oncologist in your town
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.
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