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What are the main symptoms for acute leukemia?

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Quick Answer

Signs and symptoms of acute leukemia may include fever, achy bones, shortness of breath, lethargy and easy bruising, according to Mayo Clinic. Some people may also have frequent infections and unusual bleeding.

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Full Answer

Acute leukemia is cancer of the blood and bone marrow, as stated by Mayo Clinic. The term "acute" relates to the disease's rapid progression and leukemia affects the body's white blood cells.

Many symptoms of acute leukemia are like those of the common flu or other diseases. Any symptoms that are severe, persist or are of concern should be checked out by a doctor.

Acute leukemia is caused by DNA damage to cells in the bone marrow. The abnormal cells produced by the bone marrow take over, destroying healthy cells. Doctors are unsure as to all the causes of leukemia, but speculate that chemotherapy drugs and exposure to some chemicals are common causes of the disease.

Some people are at a higher risk for developing acute leukemia. Those who have received previous cancer treatment and people over the age of 65 have an increased risk. People regularly exposed to radiation, long-time smokers and people with Down syndrome and other genetic disorders are also at risk. Acute leukemia is more prevalent in men than women.

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