Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia symptoms (ALL)
Occasionally, a person will have no symptoms or vague symptoms such as an ongoing cold, and the leukaemia is discovered during a routine blood test. However, many people with ALL find that some of the following symptoms appear quickly over a few weeks.
Fatigue or other signs of anaemia
Lack of red blood cells can cause anaemia. Signs of anaemia include tiredness, weakness, a pale complexion and breathlessness.
Increased bruising and bleeding
Lack of platelets can cause bruising without a bump or fall (spontaneous bruising), nosebleeds, bleeding gums, heavy periods in women, and small red or purple spots on the skin or mouth (petechiae).
Repeated or persistent infections
Lack of normal white blood cells can cause mouth sores, sore throats, fevers, sweats, coughing, boils, infected cuts or scratches, and frequent and painful passing of urine.
Enlarged spleen and lymph nodes
The spleen is an organ in the abdomen, while lymph nodes are small structures in the neck, underarms, chest, abdomen and groin. The spleen and lymph nodes are part of the body’s lymphatic system, which filters toxins, stores blood cells and helps fight infection. When leukaemia causes a build-up of abnormal white blood cells, the lymph nodes and spleen can become swollen. An enlarged spleen can cause pain or discomfort in the abdomen or back.
Less common symptoms of leukaemia include bone or joint pain, swollen and tender gums, skin rashes, headaches, weight loss, vision problems, vomiting and chest pains.
Dr Anoop Enjeti, Senior Staff Specialist Haematologist, Calvary Mater Newcastle, and Conjoint Senior Lecturer, The University of Newcastle; Ray Araullo, Deputy Head, Social Work Department, Royal North Shore Hospital; Shehaan Fernando, Consumer; Narelle Greentree, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Hunter Haematology Unit, Calvary Mater Newcastle; Yvonne King, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council NSW; Karen Maddock, Haematology Clinical Nurse Consultant, Westmead Hospital; Melanie Sexton, Consumer; Dr Jonathan Sillar, Haematology Registrar, Calvary Mater Newcastle, and Conjoint Fellow, The University of Newcastle.
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