Symptoms can depend on how quickly a leukaemia (also spelt leukemia) develops. You should see your GP if you notice any of these leukaemia symptoms.
Symptoms can depend on how quickly a leukaemia (also spelt leukemia) develops.
Slower growing leukaemias such as chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) and chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) may cause no symptoms in the early stages. They may be discovered by chance after a routine blood test. If you do have symptoms, these may be mild and develop gradually. The symptoms can be confused with the symptoms of more common illnesses, such as flu.
Faster growing leukaemias such as acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) or acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) are more likely to cause symptoms that appear over a few weeks. People often feel ill quite quickly. Most symptoms of acute leukaemia are caused by leukaemia cells filling the bone marrow. This means healthy blood cells do not move into the blood as normal.
If you have any of the following symptoms, you should always tell your doctor and have them checked. But remember, these symptoms can also be caused by many other illnesses.
Below is a sample of the sources used in our leukaemia information. If you would like more information about the sources we use, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Baccarani M, Pileri S, Steegmann JL, et al. on behalf of the eSMO Guidelines Working Group. Chronic myeloid leukemia: ESMO Clinical Practice Guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up. Annals of Oncology. 2012. 23 (Supplement 7): vii72-vii77. Available at: www.annalsofoncology.org/action/showPdf?pii=S0923-7534%2819%2937658-6
Eichhorst, et al. on behalf of the ESMO Guidelines Committee. Chronic lymphocyctic leukaemia: ESMO clinical practice guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up. Annals of Oncology. 2015. 26 (Supplement 5): v78-84. Available at: www.annalsofoncology.org/article/S0923-7534(19)47183-4/pdf
ESMO clinical guidelines. Eupdate - Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia treatment recommendations. June 2017. Available at: www.esmo.org/guidelines/haematological-malignancies/chronic-lymphocytic-leukaemia/eupdate-chronic-lymphocytic-leukaemia-treatment-recommendations
Fey MF, Buske C; on behalf of the ESMO Guidelines Working Group. Acute myeloblastic leukaemias in adult patients: ESMO Clinical Practice Guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up. Annals of Oncology. 2013. 24 (Supplement 6): vi138-vi143. Available at: www.annalsofoncology.org/action/showPdf?pii=S0923-7534%2819%2931560-1
Hoelzer D, et al. on behalf of the ESMO Guidelines Committee. Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia in adult patients: ESMO Clinical Practice Guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up. Annals of Oncology. 2016. 27 (Supplement 5): v69-v82. Available at: www.annalsofoncology.org/article/S0923-7534(19)31639-4/pdf
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). NICE Guidance: Conditions and diseases: Blood and bone marrow cancer. Available at: www.nice.org.uk/guidance/topic/conditions-and-diseases/blood-and-immune-system-conditions/blood-and-bone-marrow-cancers
This information has been written, revised and edited by Macmillan Cancer Support’s Cancer Information Development team. It has been reviewed by expert medical and health professionals and people living with cancer. It has been approved by Senior Medical Editors, Dr Anne Parker, Consultant Haematologist; and Dr Helen Marr, Consultant Haematologist.
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