Leukemia cells spread throughout the body just like other blood cells. Depending on where these cells collect and the number of abnormal cells, some one with leukemia may have a number of symptoms, including:
1. Joint and bone pain
Pain in bones and joints is another common symptom of leukemia. This pain is usually a result of the bone marrow being overcrowded and “full.”
They lack enough red blood cells to carry oxygen through the body, which causes a condition called anemia. Children with anemia may look pale, feel weak and tired and bleed and bruise easily. Also often have fewer than normal healthy platelets and red blood cells.
3. Recurrent infections
Children may experience repetitive viral or bacterial infections. They often have symptoms of infection such as fever, runny nose and cough. Although children with leukemia may have a high number of white blood cells, these white blood cells are immature and don’t fight infection.
4. Dyspnea or difficulty breathing
With T-cell acute lymphocytic leukemia, leukemia cells tend to clump together around the thymus gland. This mass of cells present in the middle of the chest can cause pain and difficulty breathing. Wheezing, coughing or painful breathing requires immediate medical attention.
5. Swollen lymph nodes
Lymph nodes under the arms, in the groin, chest and neck may become swollen when leukemia cells collect in the nodes. Lymph nodes are small bean-shaped structures that filter the blood.
6. Abdominal distress
Abdominal pain also may be a symptom. Leukemia cells can collect in the kidney, liver and spleen, enlarging these organs. Pain in the abdomen may cause a loss of appetite and weight.