Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) - Symptoms & Causes

What is childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL)?

Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) is one kind of blood cancer. This cancer develops from the lymphoid blood system, and is the most common cancer in children from birth to 18 years of age.

This cancer interferes with the production of normal blood cells. As the leukaemia cells circulate in the blood stream, any organ can be affected.

Types of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia

Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia can be grouped into two major categories:

  • B-cell ALL
  • T-cell ALL

Every year, about 30 – 40 out of a million children are diagnosed with ALL. In every 3 children who are found to have cancer, one will have ALL.

What are the symptoms of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL)?

If your child has ALL, they may experience symptoms caused by the lack of normal blood cells in the bloodstream. Your child may:

  • Appear tired easily and look pale due to low red blood cells
  • Lose appetite and weight
  • Get bruised or bleed easily due to low platelets level
  • Get repeated infections or fever due to inadequate mature white blood cells
  • Have bone or joint pain
  • Have lumps caused by swollen lymph nodes

What causes childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL)?

The cause of ALL in children is not known.

This page has been reviewed by our medical content reviewers.

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