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Leukemia - When To Call a Doctor

Call your doctor to schedule an appointment if you have any symptoms, such as:

  • A new lump or swollen gland in your neck, under your arm, or in your groin.
  • Frequent nosebleeds, bleeding from the gums or rectum, more frequent bruising, or very heavy menstrual bleeding.
  • Frequent fevers.
  • Night sweats.
  • Bone pain.
  • Unexplained appetite loss or recent weight loss.
  • Feeling tired a lot without a known reason.
  • Swelling and pain on the left side of the belly.

Watchful waiting

Watchful waiting is a period when your doctor is checking you regularly but not treating you. It may be a treatment choice if you are an older adult, depending on the stage of the leukemia and your overall health.

Doctors may use watchful waiting for patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) at first because treatment may not be needed. For example, it is estimated that 1 out of 3 people who have CLL never need treatment.5 People who have CLL often live for a long time without treatment.

Watchful waiting isn't usually recommended for other types of leukemia.

During watchful waiting, you will:

  • Have regular appointments with your doctor.
  • Have regular medical tests, including scans and blood tests.
  • Be told which symptoms to report to your doctor immediately.

Who to see

Health professionals who can evaluate symptoms of leukemia include the following:

The diagnosis of leukemia will be done by a medical oncologist, pediatric oncologist, or hematologist. These specialists also treat leukemia.

To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: December 14, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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