Leukemia doesn't always reveal itself with obvious signs and symptoms in the early phases of the disease. Initially, the symptoms are general in nature—resembling those of a flu or a cold—resulting from the accumulation of leukemia cells in the bone marrow, lymph tissue, and spleen and the crowding out of normal red blood cells, white blood cells, or platelets. These generalized symptoms may include:
More specific symptoms may develop, depending upon the types of cells affected by the disease. Crowding out red blood cells can lead to shortness of breath, anemia, pale skin color, and fatigue. A shortage of white blood cells increases incidence of infection. Lack of platelets can lead to bruising, bleeding from the nose or gums, and developing tiny red marks on the skin.
If the leukemia cells spread outside the blood, several other symptoms may develop depending upon the other organs involved. These may include:
Last reviewed on 08/30/2007
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