What are the Symptoms of Leukemia?

Symptoms of leukemia vary depending on the type of leukemia — acute or chronic. Some of the more common symptoms of leukemia may include:

  • Anemia
  • Bleeding and/or bruising
  • Recurrent infections
  • Bone and joint pain
  • Abdominal distress
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Difficulty breathing

The University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital provides comprehensive diagnostics, treatments and long-term follow-up care for children and adolescents who have leukemia.

How is Leukemia Diagnosed?

We offer the latest tools and technology for diagnosing childhood cancer. The diagnosis of leukemia begins with a complete medical history and physical exam followed by medical tests. Diagnostic procedures for leukemia include:

  • A complete blood count (CBC) to examine white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets
  • Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy to look at the cavity where all blood cells in the body are made. This is where leukemia starts.
  • State-of–the-art flow cytometry analysis, molecular diagnostics and a chromosome analysis to determine the subtype of leukemia
  • A spinal tap to examine the fluid that covers the brain and spine to determine if any of the leukemia has spread to the cerebral spinal fluid