Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Symptoms

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia most commonly affects children below 15 years of age. It is rare among adults. The symptoms are usually slow in onset but may rapidly get severe as the number of immature white blood cells (blast cells) rises and overcrowd other cells in the blood.

The symptoms of ALL are indicative of the underlying pathology of the cancer. The symptoms of ALL include:-

  • Pallor – the skin and mucus membranes are pale. This is the hallmark sign of anemia. Due to the rise in number of blast cells in blood the red blood cells are lowered in number and this may result in anemia.
  • Tiredness and fatigue are symptoms that are associated with anemia and are seen commonly in ALL patients.
  • There may be breathlessness, palpitations and easy fatigability due to anemia and inadequate oxygenation.
  • As the blast cells rise in the blood, the adult and mature functioning white blood cells decline in number. This causes lowering of immunity and raises the risk of repeated infections. Patient may present with repeated episodes of infections. Some of them may be simple infections that take longer to go away and sometimes with more severe immunity-depression there may be life threatening infections. Common infections include those in the mouth, throat, skin and groin.
  • Due to lowering of platelet counts in the blood there is an increased risk of bleeding. There may be nose bleeds, heavy menstrual bleeding or bleeding from the gums. Platelets normally help in clotting and prevent bleeding. Low platelet counts result from rising number of blast cells in blood. There may be bruises caused by minor injuries and severe and uncontrolled bleeding caused by injuries. Bleeding may occur within the joints, in the brain etc. creating life threatening complications. There may be bone and joint pain due to bleeding.
  • Unexplained and long term fever may be one of the symptoms. Fever is usually over 38C (100.4F).
  • Fever is usually accompanied by excessive sweating and night sweats.
  • Swollen lymph nodes are another common symptom that may be seen.
  • Liver and spleen may be enlarged and may be felt on palpating the abdomen.
  • There may be loss of appetite and weight loss.
  • If the cancer affects the central nervous system there may be neurological symptoms including headaches, seizures or fits, blurring of vision, stiffness of the neck, irritability and dizziness. Some patients may experience nausea and vomiting as well.

Further Reading

Last Updated: Jul 6, 2023

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Written by

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Dr. Ananya Mandal is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.


Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Mandal, Ananya. (2023, July 06). Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Symptoms. News-Medical. Retrieved on July 25, 2024 from

  • MLA

    Mandal, Ananya. "Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Symptoms". News-Medical. 25 July 2024. <>.

  • Chicago

    Mandal, Ananya. "Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Symptoms". News-Medical. (accessed July 25, 2024).

  • Harvard

    Mandal, Ananya. 2023. Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Symptoms. News-Medical, viewed 25 July 2024,


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
Post a new comment

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.

You might also like...
Dr. Chao Ma: Pioneering 'Leukemia-on-a-Chip' for CAR T Cell Therapy at SLAS 2024