Story by: Kim Huston on May 28, 2021
Leukemia is the most common cancer that affects children, with 1 in 3 children with cancer experiencing leukemia. Skin changes can be a symptom in early stage leukemia. Here is what parents should know and look for with skin changes in early stage leukemia.
Bone marrow produces most of the body’s blood cells, including red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. Since leukemia is a cancer of the blood-forming tissue called bone marrow, many early signs of leukemia often are related to the bone marrow. The abnormal leukemia cells, called blasts, begin to reproduce and crowd out the healthy blood cells created by the bone marrow. When this happens, symptoms emerge, with some being visible in the skin, including:
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It’s important to know that these symptoms can resemble other blood disorders or be related to other medical conditions. Other leukemia symptoms can include:
“By far, it’s important for parents to know that the most common causes of pallor, bruising and petechiae are not leukemia,” said Esther E. Knapp, M.D., pediatric hematologist/oncologist with Norton Children’s Cancer Institute, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine. “Skin changes are only a small part of the overall clinical picture when a patient typically presents with leukemia. If parents notice any symptoms or changes in their child’s health, they should consult their child’s pediatrician for evaluation.”