Leukaemia’s cause is not known as yet but you can recognise some early symptoms for prompt treatment. As with any cancer, chances of full recovery are significantly more with early diagnosis. It can be particularly important for you to know about childhood leukaemia as it would help you initiate prompt treatment children. So, how to recognize the signs of leukaemia?
[Read: What is the Treatment for Leukaemia?]
Leukaemia is a cancer that occurs in the cells that form blood. It affects the cells in their early stages. Mostly, leukaemia affects the white blood cells of a person but some types of leukaemia begin in other blood cells too. The symptoms of this disease are the same in children, but you do need to be careful about similarity of leukaemia symptoms with those of Wilms’ tumour or neuroblastoma. Some bone cancers have symptoms similar to leukaemia but they are not quite this disease.
[Read: What Happens in Leukaemia?]
How to identify leukaemia symptoms? Be conscious of the following:
- Tiredness – If you get tired too early, it can be due to leukaemia. This is because white blood cell (WBC) production increases in this disease, for which more energy gets used up.
- Weight loss – Related to the above symptoms is the inexplicable weight loss despite eating the same amount of food. This happens because WBCs use up more of your energy.
- Bleeding complications – If you find yourself bleeding much easier than before even with minor cuts, get bruises more often, with longer times for healing, it could be due to leukaemia. Another sign is appearance of small red or purple dots beneath your skin. These are called petechiae. Internal bleeding is also possible which are noticed in stools, mucus, urine, vomit, semen and phlegm.
[Read: Tips to Prevent Leukaemia]
- Internal swelling – Lymph nodes beneath your arms as well as at the front and back of your neck will appear swollen if you have leukaemia. Your liver and spleen would also swell up causing a false feeling of being full as well as nagging pain. The pain is experienced below the ribs.
- Night sweating – One of the signs of leukaemia is sweating during the night. Notice if your sweating at night is normal or excessive.
- Muscle control – If you find it difficult to control yourself while walking, or have muscle spasms from time to time, it is a tell tale sign of leukaemia if other symptoms indicate the same. Problems in balancing the body is a sign of muscle weakness that leukaemia can bring about.
- Abnormal breathing – Shortness of breath and prolonged periods of coughing are also the signs of leukaemia.
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