Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Symptoms

Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Symptoms

Some symptoms of ALL can be vague. They include:

  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite or weight loss
  • Night sweats
  • Tiny red spots just under your skin (petechiae)
  • Stomach pain

Many of the symptoms happen because your body is reacting to a lack of healthy blood cells. Leukemia cells can crowd them out in your bone marrow.

A lack of red blood cells may cause symptoms of anemia, including:

  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Dizziness or light-headedness
  • Feeling cold
  • Shortness of breath

Without enough healthy white blood cells, you may have:

  • Fevers
  • More infections than usual

A lack of platelets, tiny cells that help your blood clot, may cause:

  • Lots of bruising for no clear reason
  • Frequent or severe nosebleeds, bleeding gums, or other unusual bleeding, such as from minor cuts

Depending on where the leukemia cells are, you might also have:

  • A full or swollen belly from cancer cells in your liver or spleen
  • Enlarged lymph nodes such as in your neck or groin, under your arms, or above your collarbone
  • Bone or joint pain
  • Headache, trouble with balance, vomiting, seizures, or blurred vision if the cancer has spread to your brain
  • Trouble breathing if it’s spread to your chest

Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. They’ll do a physical exam to look for swollen lymph nodes, bleeding and bruising, or signs of infection.

If your doctor suspects leukemia, they may do tests, including:

  • Blood tests. A complete blood count (CBC) shows how many of each type of blood cell you have. A peripheral blood smear checks for changes in how your blood cells look.
  • Bone marrow tests. Your doctor will put a needle into a bone in your chest or hip and take out a sample of bone marrow. A specialist will look at it under a microscope for signs of leukemia.
  • Imaging tests. X-rays, CT scans, or ultrasounds can tell your doctor whether the cancer has spread.
  • Spinal tap. This is also known as a lumbar puncture. Your doctor will use a needle to take a sample of fluid from around your spinal cord. A specialist can look at it to see if the cancer has reached your brain or spinal cord.
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Your doctor might also test your blood or bone marrow for changes in your chromosomes or look for markers on cancer cells. The results will tell them more about the type of leukemia you have and help them plan your treatment.


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