In leukaemia, blood cells multiply uncontrollably (blood cancer). Despite their large number, the blood cells don’t work the way they should. This leads to a weakened immune system, a tendency to bleed easily, paleness and fatigue. Possible therapies include chemotherapy, radiation or a bone marrow transplant.
- Tendency to bleed easily (e.g. frequent nosebleeds, gum bleeding)
- Weakened immune system, often sick
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpits and groin
- Enlarged spleen and liver
Chronic leukaemia often begins gradually. Acute leukaemia occurs suddenly and often progresses aggressively.
Causes and treatment
The exact causes aren't always clear. Risk factors include:
- Weakened immune system (e.g. after chemotherapy or because of AIDS)
- Radiation (e.g. to treat cancer)
- Certain chemicals (e.g. benzene and some insecticides)
- Gene mutations
- Certain viruses are being discussed
Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital
- Blood test
- Bone marrow biopsy
- Radiation therapy
- Bone marrow transplant
When to see a doctor?
- Frequent and prolonged bleeding
- Unexplained and persistent exhaustion or paleness
- Frequent infections
- Painless, chronically swollen lymph nodes