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The following are some of the most common symptoms of ALL. However, each person may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
Fever and recurring infections
Feeling tired (fatigue)
Trouble breathing or shortness of breath
Aches in bones and joints
Swollen lymph nodes, liver, or spleen
Loss of appetite and weight loss
Nausea and vomiting
Many of these symptoms can be caused by other health problems; in fact, many of them are more likely to be caused by something else. But it is important to see your healthcare provider if you have these symptoms. Only a healthcare provider can tell if you have ALL, another type of cancer, or some other condition.
Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) is a rapidly growing cancer that starts in the bone marrow and spreads to the blood and other organs.
If your healthcare provider thinks you might have CLL, you will need certain exams and tests to be sure. Your healthcare provider will ask you about your health history, your symptoms, risk factors, and family history of disease. Your healthcare provider will also give you a physical exam.
You may have one or more of the following tests:
Blood tests. CLL is often found with blood tests before a person has symptoms. Tests can look at the numbers of different types of blood cells. People with CLL often have too many lymphocytes. This is a type of white blood cell.
Bone marrow aspiration and/or biopsy. This procedure is done by taking a small amount of bone marrow fluid (aspiration) and/or solid bone marrow tissue (core biopsy). This is most often done from the hip bones. The fluid and bone marrow are examined for the number, size, and maturity of blood cells and abnormal cells. Other tests can also be done on these cells. These procedures are not usually needed to diagnose CLL, which can often be done just with blood tests. But they may be done before treatment to help see how fast the leukemia is likely to grow.
Tests can be done on blood or bone marrow samples to diagnose CLL and help determine how quickly it is likely to grow. The tests include:
Flow cytometry and immunohistochemistry. These tests are used on blood, bone marrow, or other biopsy samples. The tests look for certain substances on the surface of the leukemia cells. This is called immunophenotyping. These tests can be used to make the diagnosis of CLL. Flow cytometry can also be used to test blood for substances called ZAP-70 and CD38. These may be able to tell what type of B lymphocyte the leukemia is growing in.
Cytogenetics. These tests look for changes in the chromosomes of cells from samples of blood, bone marrow, or lymph nodes. For example, in some cases of CLL, part of a chromosome may be missing. This test usually takes a few weeks. This is because the cells need time to be grown in the lab. Because of this, it’s not used as often anymore.
Fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH). This is a type of cytogenetic test. It uses special fluorescent dyes that only attach to certain parts of chromosomes. It can be used to look for changes in chromosomes that are found in blood or bone marrow samples. It doesn’t need cells to grow in the lab first. The FISH test is very accurate and gives results more quickly than standard cytogenetic tests. This is why it’s now used in many medical centers.
When your healthcare provider has the results of your tests, he or she will contact you with the results. Your healthcare provider will talk with you about other tests you may need if CLL is found. Make sure you understand the results and what follow-up you need.
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia is a slow-moving cancer that starts in the bone marrow, often spreading to the blood, lymph nodes and spleen.
Symptoms can occur a bit differently in each person. The most common symptoms of AML can include:
Shortness of breath
Swollen gums, lymph nodes, liver, or spleen
Many of these symptoms can be caused by other health problems. In fact, many of them are more likely to be caused by something else. But it is important to see your healthcare provider if you have these symptoms. Only a healthcare provider can tell if you have AML, another type of cancer, or another condition.
Acute myelogenous leukemia is usually a rapidly growing cancer that starts in bone marrow and spreads to the blood and other organs.
Some people don’t have any symptoms before being diagnosed with CML. The cancer is often found when a person has blood tests done for another reason and the tests show too many white blood cells. If CML does cause symptoms, they can include:
Feeling tired or weak
Fevers, chills, or night sweats
Pain or a sense of fullness in the upper abdomen, from an enlarged spleen
Feeling full after eating only a small amount
Bleeding or bruising easily
Bone or joint pain
Many of these symptoms may be caused by other health problems. But it is important to see your healthcare provider if you have these symptoms. Only a healthcare provider can tell if you have CML or another type of cancer.
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