Learn all about childhood leukemia sign and symptoms!
What is leukemia?
Leukemia is a cancer of blood-forming tissues of body like bone marrow and the lymphatic system.There are many types of leukemia in which some are more common in children while other types are more commonly occur in adults.Your white blood cells are potent infection fighters but they are the main target in leukemia.In normal condition white blood cells grow and divide in an orderly way, as your body needs them.But people suffering from leukemia their bone marrow produces abnormal white blood cells, which do not function properly or physiologicall inactive.Treatment of leukemia is complex and depends upon type of leukemia.But there are strategies and resources that can help to make your treatment successful.
Acute leukemia occurs as commonly in an adult as in a child. In children it strikes more frequently below the age of six than above and in children, too, it is more likely to be acute lymphocytic leukemia, while in the adult acute leukemia tends to be of granulocytic cell type. No race has been found to be exempt and no predilection of one sex over the other is seen.The symptoms of either acute lymphocytic or acute granulocytic leukemia are indistinguishable except that lymph node enlargement is more common in the lymphocytic variety. The disease may begin suddenly, anemia being the first indication. Bleeding tendencies, infection of the mouth or throat accompanied by fever, extreme weakness, and headache are common. A white-cell count less than normal is the usual case in acute leukemia.
In children there is often a history of an infection preceding the main attack by several weeks. Bleeding from the nose, gums or rectum or excessive bleeding following tonsillectomy ora tooth extraction is common, indicating that the blood platelets are in short supply. At times, in the later stages of the disease, bleeding into vital areas such as the brain occurs. The spleen is enlarged more than the liver. Pain and tenderness in the bones and joints is common, probably because of the pressure of growing cells inside of the marrow cavity. Symptoms of anemia are usually present and may be severe.
Chronic leukemia always have an insidious onset, symptoms appearing commonly after several years of disease have elapsed. The same basic mechanism as occurs in acute leukemias is operative also in the chronic leukemias-an inability of the cells to mature, hence uncontrolled division of the cells and unimpeded accumulation. Since the process is slower and the abnormal cells more normal than in acute leukemia, higher counts of cells are seen in the bloodstream. Sometimes an abnormally high white cell count is the only indication that something is wrong.After several months a person may have accumulated more than 100 times the normal number of leukocytes in his body. This extra tissue growth causes a drain on the body for nutrients and results in lassitude, weakness, and unexplained fatigue. These extra cells may infiltrate various organs and, depending on the degree of infiltration, may reduce that organ’s function and efficiency. This is the cause of the enlarged liver and spleen.
Sign and Symptoms
Some major sign and symptoms of childhood leukemia are mentioned below
Deposition of leukemia cells in the liver and spleen causes enlargement of these organs due to which swelling becomes visible on the surface of abdomen.This may be noticed as a fullness or swelling of the belly.
Pale or yellowish skin
Patient suffering from leukemia has low red blood cell count due to impaired proliferation of stem cells.Low red blood cell count makes skin pale or yellowish.
Easy bleeding or bruising
Due to impaired proliferation of stem cells platelets produce in very low amaount.Low paltelet count makes bleeding or bruising more easy and also increases clotting time after bleeding.
Bone and joint pain
In leukemia bone becomes weak due to imapired mineralization of bones and formation of leukemia cells near the surface of the bone or inside the joint.
Swelling of lymphnodes
Swelling of lymph nodes is common in almost all types of leukemia due to production of abnormal blood cells that are physiologicall inactive or non-funtional.
It is less common symptom of leukemia which may be associated with headache, nausea and vomitting.
Extreme fatigue is primary symptom of leukemia but it should not be confused with some other chronic illness.