Detecting leukemia or blood cancer symptoms early on can help to improve the prognosis of a cancer victim. We look at common symptoms of this disease when in inflicts itself on adults as well as children.
Before looking at the blood cancer symptoms let us understand what this cancer is. While we usually associate the term ‘cancer’ with tumors or a solid growth of some sort, blood cancer or hematological malignancies have to do with the blood, bone marrow and the lymph nodes when the white blood cells of the body over-multiply and start to malfunction.
More white blood cells than are required are created and they grow faster; in a more uncontrolled fashion. There are three main types of hematological malignancies and they are multiple myeloma (malignancy of the plasma cells), leukemia (blood cell malignancy) and lymphoma (tumors of the lymphatic system).
Blood cancer symptoms
Fatigue, weakness and a general feeling of being unwell (malaise) is among the first and most common signs of this type of cancer. The person may experience breathlessness and lower energy levels and may not be able to sustain normal levels of activity. Anemia is one of the signs of blood cancer. Unexplained weight loss and loss of appetite could also be the warning signs.
Since this is a disease relating to the blood there are several blood related problems noted. There could be excessive or very easy bruising. Bleeding gums and even frequent nose bleeds may be among the symptoms. Even cuts and injuries may bleed a lot more than normal.
Blood cancer symptoms will include immunity problems since blood, the lymphatic system as well as bone marrow are constituents of the body’s immune system. Fever and recurrent infections are also seen in blood cancer. Excessive sweating in the night, or while sleeping is also commonly seen.
Swollen lymph nodes may be noted in the neck and the underarm area but they may not be painful. The liver and sleep may also be enlarged. This could cause pain or swelling in the abdomen and the left shoulder as well.
Pain in the bones and joints are some of the other symptoms of blood cancer. There could also be headaches, back pain and stomach pain.
There could be problems with urination such as decreased urination or difficulty passing urine.
In some cases, there could be unexplained bone fractures that occur without sufficient cause.
In some cases there may be no symptoms of the cancer noted at all.
Symptoms of blood cancer in children
For children as well the symptoms noted are much the same as the blood cancer symptoms listed above. Nausea, weight loss, weakness and paleness are usually the first signs of the disease among kids. Decreased immunity and frequent illness, easy bruising and unexplained swellings could also be the symptoms. The important thing for a parent is to notice any abnormality in behavior or the health of the child. Any change or the instinctive feeling that something is not quite right with the child should not be ignored.