Leukemia: Knowing the Symptoms

Tuesday, September 17, 2013 9:29 AM

Many typically associate cancer with a specific part of the body, like the breast, prostate or colon; however, it can develop and affect more just a part of the body. Approximately 43,000 people are diagnosed with leukemia each year. Leukemia is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. Blood cells, both white and red, are made in bone marrow. With leukemia, bone marrow produces an abnormal amount of white blood cells, which cannot function like normal white cells. As the disease progresses, the accumulation of these abnormal cells can cause anemia, bleeding, infections and eventually could spread to other areas of the body.

Leukemia can develop in both children and adults, and is the most prevalent cancer found in children under 14 years old. Depending on the type of leukemia, symptoms may become apparent almost immediately or gradually develop and become more noticeable over the course of months or even years. Treatment plans will vary depending on the type of leukemia, as well as your age and current health.

Alla Gimbelfarb, MD, Hematology at NorthShore, identifies some of the signs and symptoms of leukemia that many overlook :

  • Anemia
  • Increased susceptibility to infections and illnesses
  • Consistent fatigue, tiredness and overall weakness
  • Bruising and bleeding
  • Weight loss
  • Frequent headaches
  • Swollen lymph nodes

Has leukemia touched someone in your family? During National Leukemia/Lymphoma Month help raise awareness about its signs and symptoms.

Tags: cancer
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