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Understanding Leukemia -- Symptoms

What Are the Symptoms of Leukemia?

Many types of leukemia produce no obvious symptoms in the early stages. Eventually, symptoms may include any of the following:

  • Anemia and related symptoms, such as fatigue, pallor, and a general feeling of illness.
  • A tendency to bruise or bleed easily, including bleeding from the gums or nose, or blood in the stool or urine.
  • Susceptibility to infections such as sore throat or bronchial pneumonia, which may be accompanied by headache, low-grade fever, mouth sores, or skin rash.
  • Swollen lymph nodes, typically in the throat, armpits, or groin.
  • Loss of appetite and weight.
  • Discomfort under the left lower ribs (caused by a swollen spleen).
  • Very high white blood cell counts may result in visual problems due to retinal hemorrhage, ringing of the ears (tinnitus), mental status changes, prolonged erection (priapism), and stroke.

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Call Your Doctor About Leukemia If:

  • You experience any of the symptoms listed in the description section and cannot readily explain their occurrence. Your blood cell count should be tested.
  • You experience unexplained bleeding, high fever, or a seizure. You may need emergency treatment for acute leukemia.
  • You are in remission from leukemia and notice signs of recurrence, such as infection or easy bleeding. You should have a follow-up exam.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Sujana Movva, MD on March 15, 2015

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