Leukemia Home > Symptoms of ALL

Common symptoms of ALL include fever, fatigue, frequent infections, and painless lumps in the neck or other parts of the body. Early indications in adults may be similar to the flu or other diseases. Anemia is a common symptom in children with this disease. Anyone experiencing possible signs or symptoms should see their healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and treatment.

What Are the Possible ALL Symptoms?

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) accounts for about 3,800 new cases of leukemia each year. ALL is the most common type of leukemia in children, representing 23 percent of cancer diagnoses among children younger than 15 years of age (see Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia). However, ALL also occurs in adults (see Adult Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia).
 
Like all blood cells, leukemia cells travel through the body. Depending on the number of abnormal cells and where these cells collect, people with ALL may have a number of symptoms.
 

Childhood Symptoms of ALL

Children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia frequently have low amounts of healthy red blood cells and platelets. As a result, there are not enough red blood cells to carry oxygen through the body. This condition is called anemia. People with anemia may:
 
  • Look pale
  • Feel weak and tired
  • Bleed and bruise easily.
 
Common symptoms of ALL in children include:
 
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent infections
  • Painless lumps in the neck, underarm, stomach, or groin
  • Pain or feeling of fullness below the ribs
  • Paleness or pallor
  • Easy bleeding or bruising
  • Loss of appetite
  • Tiny red spots (called petechiae) under the skin
  • Bone or joint pain.
 
In childhood ALL, the abnormal cells may collect in the brain or spinal cord, which is also called the central nervous system (CNS). This may result in headaches, with or without vomiting. Leukemia cells can also collect in the testicles and cause swelling. However, most children with leukemia will not have these ALL symptoms.
 
These and other symptoms of ALL may be caused by childhood acute lymphocytic leukemia or by other conditions. Therefore, children should see their doctor if they experience possible symptoms.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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