Q:

What are the biggest warning signs of leukemia?

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Quick Answer

The primary symptoms of leukemia include frequent infections, anomalous bruising, pain in the bones and joints, abdominal pain, excessive bleeding, and a general sense of fatigue. Because so many other conditions share these symptoms, other tests are necessary to confirm the diagnosis, as stated by About.com.

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Full Answer

In most cases, leukemia begins in the bone marrow, which produces white blood cells. Leukemia patients produce an anomalously high level of white blood cells that never mature. These cells are not able to perform the job of a healthy blood cell, and they crowd in the marrow, keeping other normally functioning blood cells from performing their jobs. This interference leads to the symptoms of leukemia, according to About.com.

Leukemia comes in two main kinds: acute and chronic. Acute leukemia is generally diagnosed when the number of leukemia cells (the immature blood cells) is already quite high and growing rapidly. The symptoms may only have been present for a matter of days, weeks or months. Chronic leukemia develops at a slower rate, so the symptoms take longer to arise. As a result, doctors only discover chronic leukemia by chance, in many cases during routine physicals. Because many of the symptoms of leukemia are fairly vague, it is easy to write them off as a sign of developing a bug or just feeling tired. When these symptoms accrue, though, it is wise to schedule an appointment with a physician to confirm or rule out leukemia, notes About.com.

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