Childhood Cancer

Childhood Leukemia

Signs and Symptoms

CML develops over months or years, and there are usually no signs or symptoms in the early stages. It is sometimes discovered when a child or teen is having a routine blood test. If the disease is not found from a routine blood test, a child may develop some of the following signs and symptoms:

  • Abdominal pain or feelings of fullness due to an enlarged spleen
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck, underarm, stomach, or groin
  • Pale skin
  • Poor appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Bruises
  • Headaches
  • Fevers
  • Night sweats
  • Bone and joint pain

Because CML is rare in children and these symptoms are common to many childhood illnesses, it’s often hard to diagnose early. When a complete blood count (CBC) test is done, the following results are usually found in children with CML:

  • High WBC count of mostly neutrophils and other types of WBCs
  • High platelet count
  • Low RBC count

When a child’s WBC is extremely high at diagnosis, other signs and symptoms may be present, including:

  • Rapid breathing
  • Visual changes
  • Hearing loss
  • Hemorrhage of the retina
  • Priapism (long-lasting and painful erection in males)