Common Leukemia Symptoms, Described by Real Patients

Common Leukemia Symptoms, Described by Real Patients

Leukemia is a form of cancer in the body’s blood-forming tissues, including the bone marrow and lymphatic system. There are several different types of leukemia resulting in a large variety of common symptoms linked to the disease.

While there are common symptoms across all forms of Leukemia, different forms of the disease tend to present different symptoms.  We take a look at how real-life Leukemia patients experienced their first symptoms.

How Patients Described Their First Signs of Leukemia

The symptoms linked with leukemia can present themselves The symptoms associated with Leukemia can present themselves differently in each person. In this section, we take a look at how real-life Leukemia patients experienced their first symptoms.

Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL)

The bone marrow produces too many abnormal lymphocytes, a type white blood cell, overcrowding healthy cells and making it difficult for the body to fight infection.

I was feeling very fatigued and getting bruises here and there. I attributed that to the move. I was feeling very weak. A couple weeks had passed. It had been the new year and I was feeling very, very weak. 

– Evan L. | Read More

I became really white and started bruising really easily. I would touch my hand to a counter and have a bruise. Then I started getting petechiae all over my body. They’re little clusters of red dots. I didn’t know what that was.

– Casey H. | Read More

I didn’t really have any [symptoms]. The only symptoms that started to present themselves after I found out I was pregnant was a little shortness of breath and some palpitations. 

– Veronica B.| Read More

My first symptom was fatigue, followed by bruising. Lots of bruising. Started with simple bruising, I would touch my skin and a bruise would pop up. It would look like somebody beat me up.

– Lauren J. | Read More

Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)

Impacts your myeloid cells, which help give rise to red blood, white blood, and platelet-producing cells leading to infection, anemia or easy bleeding.

I had [my wisdom teeth] extracted at my dentist’s office one day. The next day, my entire face swelled up, and I got an infection in my cheek. I had a medical leave from school, and I was in bed for a month with that. None of the antibiotics were working.

-Hayley A. | Read More

It wasn’t painful, it was just heavier than normal. Some girls get really heavy periods, mine is usually pretty light so when it was really heavy, something just didn’t feel right.

-McKenzie R. | Read more
Nicole smiling

This wasn’t like a bug bite itch. It was an internal itch. It felt like my legs and arms were crawling. It was so uncomfortable. 

– Nicole T. | Read more

I’m having trouble breathing, my calf hurts, and I have all these bruises.

– Leslie T. | Read more

Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)

A slow increase in B lymphocytes, white blood cells also known as B cells, the occurs over several years. CLL often spreads without symptoms or notice

I was told it was probably an infection that had caused a lymph node to enlarge and nothing to worry about. 

– Tony D. | Read more

I had been going to the doctor for severe fatigue for several years prior to diagnosis. We didn’t know what it was. Thoughts went through our heads that it was possibly chronic fatigue syndrome. 

– Lacey B. | Read more

After waiting for all that to come back, a doctor walks in and says, “How long have you had blood cancer?” 

I said, “What? What are you talking about?”

-Sean R. | Read more

Related Links and Resources

With the internet full of information it’s hard to know what to trust. We’ve provided a few trustworthy sources below to help learn more about common leukemia symptoms and the disease in general.

Leukemia Symptoms

If you are looking to learn more about the symptoms associated with Leukemia and its subtypes visit:

Learn More About Leukemia

Learn from Dr. Kerry Rodgers about CLL treatment options.

Hear about the latest in blood cancer treatment from Dr. Farrukh Awan.

What to Do If You Are Experiencing Symptoms Linked with Leukemia

If you are experiencing symptoms associated with leukemia it’s best to go visit a doctor. Leukemia is hard to detect because the symptoms aren’t always clear. In the case of chronic leukemia, symptoms may not even be present at all.

In addition to seeing a doctor, it’s important to go to your annual physical and get blood work done at least once a year. Routine blood work can help detect leukemia even if you aren’t experiencing symptoms.

Whether you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, fear that you may be experiencing symptoms of cancer, or would like to learn more about cancer in general we can help! Check out our navigating cancer page to learn more about everything cancer-related.