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Leukaemia symptoms

Leukaemia symptoms are often mild at first, but slowly worsen over time. Some people with chronic (slow-growing) leukaemia don’t notice any symptoms at all, and only find out they have the disease when they have a routine blood test.

The symptoms of leukaemia depend on how many abnormal white blood cells are in the body, and where they collect.

In cases of acute (fast-growing) leukaemia, abnormal white blood cells multiply rapidly and spill out into the bloodstream, crowding out healthy blood cells, which can no longer do their job properly.

In chronic leukaemia, abnormal white blood cells fail to die, and slowly build up in the bloodstream, bone marrow, and other organs.

Common symptoms of leukaemia

Some of the more common symptoms of leukaemia include:

  • tiredness
  • anaemia (paleness, weakness, breathlessness)
  • repeated infections, for example mouth sores, infected cuts and scratches
  • prone to bruising and bleeding.

Other symptoms of leukaemia

Less common symptoms of leukaemia can include:

If you notice any of these symptoms, it doesn’t mean you have leukaemia, but it’s a good idea to see your doctor for a check-up.

Last reviewed: March 2015

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Leukaemia - myDr.com.au

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Childhood Leukaemia | myVMC

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Acute myeloid leukaemia - Cancer Pathways

For more information about these leukaemias and where to go for support and help call the Leukaemia Foundation on 1800 620 420 or visit www.leukaemia.org.au.

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Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia | myVMC

Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia is a type of bone marrow cancer which disrupts the normal balance of red and white blood cells and platelets.

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Leukaemia - Cancer Council Australia

Find out information about leukaemia (or leukemias - U.S. spelling) from Australia's most trusted cancer control organisation.

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Promyelocytic Leukaemia (PML) | myVMC

Promyelocytic leukaemia is a malignancy of thebone marrow in which there is a deficiency of mature blood cells in the myeloid line of cells and an excess of immature cells called promyelocytes

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Hairy Cell Leukaemia | myVMC

Hairy Cell Leukaemia is a cancer of the bone marrow which causes the growth cancerous cells with a hairy look. Cancer may spread from the bone marrow cells.

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Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia | myVMC

Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia is cancer that arises in bone marrow cells that generate white blood cells. It is most common in 40-50 year olds.

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Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) | myVMC

Acute myeloid leukaemia arises in the precursors of myeloid cells in bone marrow. In normal circumstances these form white blood cells.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

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