Leukemia Home > Early Symptoms of Leukemia

People with acute leukemia are more likely to experience early symptoms of the disease than those people with chronic forms of the cancer. Early symptoms of leukemia for people with acute forms of the disease may include fever, fatigue, frequent infections, and painless lumps in the neck, underarm, stomach, or groin. In many cases, people with chronic type of the disease have no early symptoms of leukemia. When early symptoms of leukemia do develop in such cases, they may include feeling very tired, weight loss for no known reason, and night sweats.

Early Symptoms of Leukemia: An Introduction

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 early symptoms of leukemia. People with acute leukemia are more likely to have early symptoms of leukemia than those with chronic leukemia.
 

Early Symptoms of Leukemia: Acute Leukemia

Acute leukemia includes such forms of the disease as acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML). In acute leukemia:
 
  • The blood cells are very abnormal
  • The blood cells cannot carry out their normal work
  • The number of abnormal cells increases rapidly.
 
Therefore, early symptoms of leukemia are more common in people who have acute leukemia.
 
For AML and ALL, early symptoms of leukemia can 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.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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