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Signs and Symptoms

People who have chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) may not have any symptoms at first. Often, patients learn they have CML after a routine physical exam or a blood test. CML signs and symptoms tend to develop gradually. Those with symptoms often report

  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath during basic everyday activities
  • Fever
  • Bone pain
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Pain or a feeling of fullness below the ribs on the left side due to an enlarged spleen
  • Night sweats.

Many signs and symptoms of CML occur because the CML cells crowd out the bone marrow’s healthy red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. Anemia is a shortage of red blood cells that can cause weakness, fatigue and shortness of breath. A shortage of normal white blood cells can increase a CML patient’s risk of infection, and a shortage of platelets can lead to excessive bruising or bleeding. Symptoms may also occur because CML cells collect in organs such as the spleen. 

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