Worried About Your Child's Strange Lump, Bump, Or Bruise? Four Signs Of Childhood Leukemia

Childhood cancer is every parent's worst fear. However, advances in leukemia treatment mean that these diagnoses aren't always a death sentence, and many children beat childhood leukemia and go on to live long, healthy lives. Getting a prompt diagnosis and a head start on treatment can often be the difference between a positive outcome and a poor one, so it's important for parents to know some of the signs their child may display if he or she is developing this serious blood cancer. Read on to learn more about four of the most common warning signs of childhood leukemia.

Pain in Bones or Joints

Many children will complain about phantom pains, especially when they know such complaints are likely to draw a concerned reaction from parents. It can be easy to attribute these complaints to "growing pains," and in most cases, they'll resolve on their own. But if you notice that your child is avoiding activities he or she once enjoyed while also complaining of chronic bone or joint pain, it may be worthwhile to have an X-ray or CT scan to rule out the presence of any tumors.

A Poor Immune System

When a child has leukemia, his or her white blood cells don't function normally. This can make it difficult for the body to fight off illnesses and infections, despite a higher-than-normal white cell count. If your once-healthy child seems to come down with just about every bug that he or she is exposed to or has developed one or more slow-healing wounds, blood tests can help you narrow down the possible diagnoses. 

Abdominal or Facial Swelling

Swelling in the abdomen can be a sign of an inflamed spleen or liver, while facial swelling (especially facial swelling in the morning) may be a sign of a potentially emergent condition called superior vena cava syndrome. If your child is displaying signs of swelling that don't have any other obvious source (like infection, allergies, or an injury), it's a good idea to make a pediatrician appointment.

Severe Headaches

Some children with brain or spinal tumors will suddenly develop severe, migraine-like headaches that can be accompanied by sensitivity to light, nausea, vomiting, and vertigo. While it's not unheard of for children to get migraines, these serious headaches tend to mostly afflict adults, so a child who displays migraine symptoms for more than a few weeks might need to be checked out.

Contact a company like Willow Oak Pediatrics to learn more.