Leukemia cells are abnormal cells that cannot do what normal
blood cells do. They cannot help the body fight infections. For
this reason, people with leukemia often get infections and have
fevers. Also, people with leukemia often have less than the normal
amount of healthy red blood cells and platelets. As a result, there
are not enough red blood cells to carry oxygen through the body.
With this condition, called anemia, patients may look pale and feel
weak and tired. When there are not enough platelets, patients bleed
and bruise easily.
Like all blood cells, leukemia cells travel through the body.
Depending on the number of abnormal cells and where these cells
collect, patients with leukemia may have a number of symptoms. In
, symptoms appear and get worse quickly.
People with this disease go to their doctor because they feel sick.
, symptoms may not appear for a long
time. When symptoms do appear, they generally are mild at first and
get worse gradually. Doctors often find chronic leukemia during a
routine checkup-before there are any symptoms. These are some of
the common symptoms of leukemia:
Fever, chills, and other flu-like symptoms
Weakness and fatigue
Loss of appetite and/or weight
Swollen or tender lymph nodes, liver, or spleen
Easy bleeding or bruising
Tiny red spots (called petechiae) under the skin
Swollen or bleeding gums
Sweating, especially at night
Bone or joint pain
, the abnormal cells may collect in the
brain or spinal cord (also called the central nervous system or
CNS). The result may be
Loss of muscle control
Leukemia cells also can collect in the testicles and cause
swelling. Also, some patients develop sores in the eyes or on the
skin. Leukemia also can affect the digestive tract, kidneys, lungs,
or other parts of the body.
In chronic leukemia, the abnormal blood cells may gradually
collect in various parts of the body. Chronic leukemia may affect
the skin, central nervous system, digestive tract, kidneys, and
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a