Leukemia is a cancer of blood cells and bone marrow, a malignancy that causes specific blood cells to be formed abnormally. The normal functioning of blood cells tends to falter when abnormal blood cells crowd out healthy ones. Abnormal and unchecked multiplication of both red and white blood cells causes physical symptoms to appear. According to the American National Institute of Health, blood cancer may get worse quickly if you have a type called acute leukemia. Similarly, the disease may progress gradually over a few months to several years and get worse if you have chronic leukemia.
According to World Health Organization statistics, the occurrence of leukemia varies considerably by region and subtype. The most common type of childhood blood cancer is acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Around 85% of cases involving children occur in those younger than 15 years of age (mostly between two and five years of age). Acute leukemia appears to be more prevalent in men than in women. Here’re some of the silent and non-specific symptoms of leukemia you should not ignore.
Fatigue and weakness
According to Mark Levis, MD, Ph.D., at the Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, persistent exhaustion and weakness are some of the earliest and most common symptoms of leukemia. Such symptoms are often caused by anemia (low levels of circulating red blood cells in the body), which aggravates physical exhaustion.
You can experience a range from mild exhaustion to extreme physical weakness in both chronic and acute cases, but the symptoms only worsen over time in all cases. Tiredness and fatigue can also be a sign of cancer of the colon and other non-cancerous body conditions as well.