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Childhood leukemia

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Symptoms of childhood leukemia

The signs or symptoms of childhood leukemia may vary depending on the specific type of leukemia. Symptoms of acute leukemias often appear quickly, over days or weeks. Symptoms of chronic leukemias develop over a longer period of time. Other health conditions can cause the same symptoms as childhood leukemia.

Symptoms of all types of childhood leukemia include:

  • fatigue
  • pale skin
  • frequent infections
  • fever
  • easy bleeding or bruising, which can lead to frequent or severe nose bleeds, widespread bruising, bleeding gums and red spots on the skin (called petechiae)
  • bone or joint pain (may cause limping)
  • swollen abdomen (caused by enlarged liver or spleen)
  • loss of appetite
  • weight loss
  • enlarged lymph nodes
  • coughing
  • trouble breathing
  • swelling of the face and arms
  • weakness

Sometimes leukemia spreads to the central nervous system (CNS), causing the following signs and symptoms:

  • headache
  • vomiting (especially early in the morning)
  • weakness of facial and eye muscles
  • blurred vision
  • seizures
  • difficulty keeping balance
  • poor school performance


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