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Signs of Leukemia in Children

Leukemia is the cancer of blood-forming tissue such as bone marrow and blood cells. There are different types of leukemia including acute lymphocytic leukemia, acute myeloid leukemia, and the chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Leukemia does not usually show signs until the very advanced stages. This makes it difficult for patients to know about their condition. However, if you are a parent, it is possible to monitor your child and detect whether they have leukemia at an early stage. Some of the symptoms observed in children suffering from leukemia are similar to those of other serious childhood illnesses. Childhood leukemia also affects teenagers and is very common than other types of cancer in children. A report from the National Cancer Institute of the United States shows that around 4,000 children in the US alone are affected by leukemia Annually. This is a big number and should be cause for alarm to all parents. If you are a parent, you should be keen to try and detect whether your child shows any signs of leukemia as early as possible.

Although most people are afraid of being diagnosed with leukemia, the survival rates have been improving over the years. Advanced medical technology now makes it possible for patients to get early treatment to improve the chances of survival. Here are some of the common signs of leukemia in children.

 

  1. Anemia

There are many causes of Anemia and your child suffering from Anemia does not necessarily indicate that he/she is suffering from leukemia. In case your child shows any signs and symptoms of Anemia, you should have a doctor examine them for leukemia too. Anemia occurs when the body has a shortage of red blood cells. Since Leukemia affects the production of red blood cells, it can be the cause for Anemia in your child. When the body lacks red blood cells, it is ineffective in transporting oxygen. It is the red blood cells that transport the blood throughout your body. Anyone suffering from leukemia may experience symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness, weakness, pale skin, lack of breath, and feeling unusually cold.

  1. Frequent infections

 

It is common for children to suffer infections from time to time. Children under the age of 5 have a poor immune and may be susceptible to all types of infections. The situation is worsened if your child is suffering from leukemia. Children who suffer from leukemia have a high white blood cell count, however, these white blood cells are not functioning. When someone suffers from leukemia, abnormal cells replace healthy white blood cells. Since the white blood cells are responsible for fighting infections, the lack of functioning white blood cells will cause any child to experience recurrent infections. If your child keeps getting infections, talk to your doctor to have a diagnosis of leukemia done.

  1. Swelling

Leukemia may lead to swelling in children frequently. Leukemia causes swelling on the arms or lymph nodes. If you experience swelling on your arm or lymph, get your child checked. The swelling may also affect other parts of the body including the abdomen, the face, and the arms. When abnormal blood cells concentrate in the liver and the spleen, the superior vein called Vena Cava cause blood to pool in that area. If you notice small lumps on the sides of the neck, the collarbone or the arms, it is time to take the test. However, it is also important to note that children tend to suffer other infections that may lead to swelling. Before you start rushing your child to the doctor for leukemia diagnosis, check to see whether the child is experiencing other signs of leukemia.

  1. Coughing or breathing difficulties

Coughing can be caused by various infections but can also be due to leukemia. Leukemia tends to affect parts of the body around the chest such as the thymus and the lymph nodes. If these parts of your body get swollen, they can exert excess pressure on the trachea leading to difficulties in breathing. If your child experiences breathing difficulties and coughing on a regular basis, it is advisable to get him/her checked. Breathing difficulties may also occur if abnormal cells build up within the lung’s blood vessels.

  1. Extreme fatigue

It is difficult to tell when a child below the age of 5 experiences fatigue. However, as the child matures, you will notice that they are fatigued and tired. A fatigued child does not like playing with others or doing any duties at home. Leukemia may lead to weakness, exhaustion and slurred speech. This usually occurs when the leukemia cells collect in the blood vessels causing the blood to thicken. The blood may be so thick leading to an insufficient supply of oxygen to the brain. Lack of oxygen supply may lead to feelings of dizziness, fatigue, and weakness.

  1. Skin Rashes

Leukemia cells may spread to the skin leading to the formation of small dark rashes. Although rare, this collection of cells on the skin is one of the clearest signs of leukemia in children. The spots are known as chloroma and may occur to children with acute leukemia.

Leukemia also results in bruising and bleeding due to the increase in blood pressure. Tiny spots known as petechiae are formed on the skin. In most cases, the spots appear like common rashes.

Conclusion

Leukemia can be managed if diagnosed at an early stage. As a parent, it is your duty to ensure that you monitor the health of your family to detect any signs of leukemia in children. Although the signs of leukemia are not as clear as black and white, you can be able to detect by paying attention to your child’s health. Watch for the signs mentioned above and keep on communicating with your doctor. If you come across anything suspicious signs, talk to your doctor about your fears. It is also important to note that, most of the signs mentioned above can occur to a child that does not suffer from leukemia. You should look for a string of symptoms to be able to say that your child has leukemia. Talk to a doctor and ask for a diagnosis before you start panicking. Theses symptoms apply to all children from age one to the age of fifteen.

 

References

https://www.cancer.gov/types/leukemia/patient/child-all-treatment-pdq

https://www.webmd.com/cancer/lymphoma/childhood-leukemia-symptoms-treatments

https://www.health.harvard.edu/a_to_z/acute-lymphocytic-leukemia-all-in-children-a-to-z

https://www.forbes.com/sites/victoriaforster/2018/05/22/preventing-childhood-leukemia-may-eventually-be-possible-as-a-survivor-myself-im-hopeful/#37d9e6005a20