Leukaemia: Symptoms, diagnosis and treatment

Leukaemia: Symptoms, diagnosis and treatment

What is leukaemia?
Leukaemia is cancer of the blood causing too many white blood cells to be produced and affecting the bone marrow.

Around 9,500 are diagnosed with leukaemia each year in the UK.

The main types of leukaemia are acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) and chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL).

Symptoms of leukaemia: How do I know if I have leukaemia?
Many types of leukaemia produce no obvious symptoms in the early stages. Eventually, symptoms may include any of the following:

Anaemia and related symptoms, such as fatigue, pallor and a general feeling of illness.
A tendency to bruise or bleed easily, including bleeding from the gums or nose, or blood in the stool or urine.
Susceptibility to infections such as sore throat or bronchial pneumonia, which may be accompanied by headache, low-grade fever, mouth sores or skin rash.
Swollen lymph nodes, typically in the neck, armpits or groin.
Loss of appetite and weight.
Discomfort under the left lower ribs (caused by a swollen spleen).
In advanced stages, symptoms may include sudden high temperature, confusion, seizures, inability to talk or move limbs, and an altered state of consciousness.

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