What Are the Symptoms of Leukemia?

While leukemia, a cancer of the blood cells, is one of the more common cancers in children, it occurs most frequently in older adults. More than 60,000 new cases of adult leukemia are estimated in the United States for 2016. These cancers are classified as either acute, which means the cancer is fast growing, or chronic, in which cells grow slower over time.

sog_5307_16

Many of the symptoms of leukemia, such as fever and unexplained weight loss, occur in most types of the disease, from acute myeloid leukemia to chronic lymphocytic leukemia and others. However, some symptoms indicate a specific form. Pain or fullness below the ribs on the left side, for example, may be a symptom related to chronic myelogenous leukemia, but isn’t connected to other forms of the disease. So what are the other symptoms?

While not all leukemia patients will experience symptoms, the most common signs of leukemia include:

  • Fever
  • Unexplained weight or appetite loss
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Pain or fullness below the ribs
  • Shortness of breath
  • Easy bruising
  • Night sweats

 

These symptoms may be indicators of other, less serious conditions, but if you notice any of these signs, contact your doctor, who can conduct a complete blood count test or a bone marrow aspiration biopsy, the two most common testing procedures for leukemia.

Learn more about the risk factors, symptoms, and treatment options for leukemia from Dana-Farber’s/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center Adult Leukemia Program.

Make An Appointment

For adults: 877-960-1562

Quick access: Appointments as soon as the next day for new adult patients

For children: 888-733-4662

All content in these blogs is provided by independent writers and does not represent the opinions or advice of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute or its partners.

Latest Tweets

Dana-Farber @danafarber
Dr. Matthew Davids explores combining ibrutinib with FCR (iFCR) for younger patients with previously-untreated chro… https://t.co/wzVpo47tSa
Dana-Farber @danafarber
“We’re changing the way people are cared for, through #precisionmedicine, precision care, and a total team approach… https://t.co/RnZXsH2rW8
Dana-Farber @danafarber
Cell-weighing method could help doctors choose #cancer drugs: https://t.co/YesjtyxIvR via @MIT https://t.co/0F7wsZSuLJ

Republish our posts on your blog

Interested in sharing one of our stories on your blog? Feel free to republish this content! We just ask that you credit Dana-Farber, link to the original article, and refrain from making edits that change the original context. Questions? Email the editors at insight_blog@dfci.harvard.edu.