Leukemia - Chronic T-Cell Lymphocytic: Symptoms and Signs

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 08/2017

ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about body changes and other things that can signal a problem that may need medical care. Use the menu to see other pages.

People with T-cell leukemia may experience the following symptoms or signs. Sometimes, people with T-cell leukemia do not have any of these changes. Or, the cause of a symptom may be a different medical condition that is not leukemia.

  • Recurrent infections from low numbers of infection-fighting white blood cells called neutrophils

  • Bleeding or bruising easily

  • Unexplained fevers, chills, and/or night sweats

  • Unexplained tiredness and/or weight loss

  • Persistent, unexplained abdominal pain on the left side from a swollen spleen (LGLL, T-PLL)

  • Swollen lymph nodes (T-PLL, ATLL); lymph nodes are tiny, bean-shaped organs that help fight infection.

  • Rash or skin lesions (T-PLL, ATLL, Sezary syndrome)

  • Frequent urination and/or constipation from high levels of calcium in the blood, called hypercalcemia (ATLL).

  • Itching involving the skin (ATLL, Sezary syndrome)

  • Feeling full quickly when eating or abdominal pain or fullness (T-PLL)

If you are concerned about any changes you experience, please talk with your doctor. Your doctor will ask how long and how often you’ve been experiencing the symptom(s), in addition to other questions. This is to help figure out the cause of the problem, called a diagnosis.

If leukemia 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 health care team about the symptoms you experience, including any new symptoms or a change in symptoms.

The next section in this guide is Diagnosis. It explains what tests may be needed to learn more about the cause of the symptoms. You may use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.