Leukemia - Acute Lymphoblastic - ALL - Childhood: Symptoms and Signs

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 03/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about body changes and other things that can signal a problem that may need medical care. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

Children with ALL often experience the following symptoms or signs. Sometimes, children with ALL do not show any of these symptoms. Or, these symptoms may be caused by a medical condition that is not cancer. The early signs of ALL can look very much like the flu or other common illnesses. When one or more of these symptoms lasts for longer than one would expect, or you are worried about a symptom or sign on this list, please talk with your child’s doctor.

  • Frequent infections
  • A fever that doesn’t go away
  • Feeling weak and tired all the time
  • Bone pain
  • Swollen lymph nodes (in the neck, under the arms, and groin, for example)
  • Paleness
  • Bruising or bleeding easily
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Headache
  • Enlarged liver or spleen

If you are concerned about one or more of the symptoms or signs on this list, please talk with your child’s doctor. Your doctor will ask how long and how often your child has been experiencing the symptom(s), in addition to other questions. This is to help find out the cause of the problem, called a diagnosis.

If cancer is diagnosed, relieving symptoms remains an important part of care and treatment. This may also be called symptom management, palliative care, or supportive care. Be sure to talk with your child’s health care team about symptoms your child has, including any new symptoms or a change in symptoms.

The next section helps explain what tests and scans may be needed to learn more about the cause of the symptoms. Use the menu on the side of your screen to select Diagnosis, or you can select another section, to continue reading this guide.