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Leukemia Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment and Risk Factors

  • Symptoms: Some common symptoms of leukemia include fever; night sweats; headaches; bruising; bleeding from gums or rectum; bone or joint pain; swollen or painful abdomen; swollen lymph nodes in the underarm, neck, or groin; weakness; fatigue; unexpected weight loss; and unexpected loss of appetite.
  • Diagnosis: To diagnose leukemia, your doctor will perform a physical exam to look for swollen lymph nodes and an enlarged spleen or liver. Your doctor will also order blood tests to check for high levels of white blood cells and low levels of other types of blood cells. Your doctor may also perform a bone marrow biopsy to examine the cells inside your bones. You may also need a chest X-ray, CT scan, lumbar puncture, or MRI of your brain.
  • Treatment: Treatments for leukemia may include chemotherapy, radiation, and biologic therapy.
  • Risk Factors: Though there are no known causes of leukemia, some risk factors include smoking and tobacco use; excessive exposure to radiation; and exposure to certain chemicals. Most people who develop leukemia do not have any risk factors.
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