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Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL)

  • Alternative Names

    ALL; Acute childhood leukemia; Cancer - acute childhood leukemia (ALL); Leukemia - acute childhood (ALL)


    Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) makes you more likely to bleed and develop infections. Symptoms include:

    • Bone and joint pain
    • Easy bruising and bleeding (such as bleeding gums, skin bleeding, nosebleeds, abnormal periods)
    • Feeling weak or tired
    • Fever
    • Loss of appetite and weight loss
    • Paleness
    • Pain or feeling of fullness below the ribs
    • Pinpoint red spots on the skin (petechiae)
    • Swollen glands (lymphadenopathy) in the neck, under arms, and groin
    • Night sweats

    Note: These symptoms can occur with other conditions. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific symptoms.

    Signs and tests

    A physical exam may reveal the following:

    • Bruising
    • Swollen liver, lymph nodes, and spleen
    • Signs of bleeding (petechiae, purpura)

    Blood tests may include:

    • Complete blood count (CBC), including white blood cell (WBC) count
    • Platelet count
    • Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy
    • Lumbar puncture (spinal tap) to check for leukemia cells in the spinal fluid

    Tests are also done to look for chromosome changes in the cells of some leukemias. Leukemias with certain types of chromosome changes have a poor outlook, while those with other types of genes can have a very good outlook. This may determine what kind of treatment you receive.