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Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms are changes in the body that may indicate the presence of disease. A sign is a change that the doctor sees during an exam or in a laboratory test result. A symptom is a change that a patient can see and/or feel.

It is common for a child with ALL to feel a loss of well-being because of the lack of normal, healthy blood cells.

Symptoms of a low red blood cell count (anemia) include:

  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath during normal physical activities
  • Dizziness
  • Pale complexion

Symptoms of neutropenia (low number of neutrophils, a type of white blood cell important in fighting infections) include:

  • Frequent infections
  • Recurrent fevers

Symptoms of a low platelet count (thrombocytopenia) include:

  • Bruising easily
  • Prolonged bleeding from minor cuts
  • The appearance of pinhead-sized red spots on the skin, called “petechiae”
  • Frequent or severe nosebleeds
  • Bleeding gums
  • Heavier or more frequent menstrual periods (if your child has begun menstruating)

Symptoms may also be related to leukemia cells collecting in other parts of the body. These symptoms may include:

  • Unexplained weight loss or loss of appetite
  • Pain in bones and joints
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Enlarged spleen or liver
  • Abdominal pain
  • Wheezing, coughing or painful breathing

The symptoms of ALL may be similar to those of other blood disorders or medical conditions. Speak with your child’s doctor if your child has any of the above symptoms.

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