Leukemia symptoms in a toddler

Written by melissa elizondo
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Toddlers get sick. Sometimes, the sickness does not go away. If you think your toddler has leukaemia, it is imperative to see your paediatrician. Leukaemia is a form of cancer that affects blood tissue, including bone marrow. It usually starts in the white blood cells. Your doctor can examine your toddler and order further testing if needed. Doctors usually begin testing for leukaemia with a blood test. To get a clear diagnosis, your doctor may need to perform a bone marrow biopsy.

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Fever and Infection

A toddler with leukaemia will have increased episodes of fever and infection. Healthy toddlers can run fever from time to time, but with leukaemia, the fever is almost constant. The increased fever and infection with leukaemia is caused by defective white blood cells. The role of white blood cells is to fight off infection, which cannot be done if your toddler has leukaemia.

Anemia

Anemia is another symptom of leukaemia in toddlers. Anemia is a condition in which the blood has a lower than normal amount of red blood cells. The leukaemia interferes with bone marrow's production of red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body. Look for your toddler to become abnormally short of breath after playing. He will also become overly tired very easily. If your toddler seems to run out of steam with very little activity, it could be anaemia.

Poor Appetite

Toddlers with leukaemia usually have a poor appetite. This symptom alone cannot determine leukaemia simply because many toddlers have poor appetites. Most toddlers will eat when they get hungry enough. A toddler with leukaemia will have a consistently poor appetite and refuse food. Also, look for a sudden loss of appetite. If your toddler suddenly starts refusing food and doesn't improve within a few days, see your doctor to rule out any health conditions.

Bruising and Bleeding

Another symptom of leukaemia is bruising and bleeding easily. The bruising and bleeding can be caused by even very minor injuries. Toddlers with leukaemia will have frequent nosebleeds. Your toddler will also experience prolonged bleeding after injury. She will even have prolonged bleeding after a minor scrape or cut. This is caused because leukaemia prevents the bone marrow from producing the needed amount of platelets, which allows the blood to clot.

Painless Lumps and Swelling

Other symptoms of leukaemia that you should look for are swollen lymph nodes, which are also known as glands. Look for swelling throughout the body, especially in the neck and groin. Toddlers with leukaemia can also experience painless lumps all over their body. These lumps usually appear in the neck, underarm, stomach and groin. They can even appear around the eyes. This is caused by low levels of normal blood cells.

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