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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 experiencing: 

  • 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 lack of red blood cells that can cause weakness, fatigue and shortness of breath. A lack of normal white blood cells can increase the risk of infection, and a lack of platelets can lead to excessive bruising or bleeding. Symptoms may also occur because CML cells accumulate in organs such as the spleen. Some patients may have a high platelet count.

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