Synonyms in a broader sense

  • White blood cancer
  • Myeloid leukemia
  • Lymphatic leukemia
  • ALL (Acute Lymphatic Leukemia)
  • AML (Acute Myeloid Leukemia)
  • CLL (Chronic Lymphatic Leukemia)
  • CML (Chronic Myeloid Leukemia)
  • Meningeosis leucaemica


White blood cancer (leukemia) is not to be understood as a single disease, but as a collective term for several diseases. This includes malignant growth (proliferation) of the blood cell forming system that is uncontrolled by the body. This leads to malignant growth of the affected cells in the bone marrow or in the so-called lymphatic tissues, such as the lymph nodes.

These degenerated cells are washed out into the blood. The uncontrolled growth or multiplication of these cells suppresses “normal” blood formation and impairs the immune system, since the healthy, non-degenerated cells are literally crushed by the rapid growth of the malignant cells. The term leukemia is translated as “white blood”. At that time it was Rudolph Virchow, a well-known German physician, who analyzed the blood of an affected patient as early as the 19th century and saw already in the test tube that the white blood cells were atypically increased and thus coined the term.

General Symptoms

The symptoms are often very atypical. The disease can start with fever, for example. In the course of the disease, night sweat may be added.

The blankets are then downright wet in the morning. Bone pain is also frequently described. Children often stand out because of their unwillingness to play or generally because of a change in their character; they lose interest in things that used to be very exciting for them, they tend to be lethargic and to be defeated.

The uncontrolled growth of the degenerated cells displaces the normal growth of the cells important for the immune system, thus symptoms occur which are due to the increased susceptibility to infections, e.g. more frequent pneumonia. Furthermore, the normal growth of the red blood cells (erythrocytes) is displaced. The result is anemia, but also chest tightness (angina pectoris) or heart stumbling (palpitations) are among the symptoms.

If the proliferation of blood platelets (thrombocytes) is prevented or restricted, increased bleeding results, even after minor activities such as brushing teeth. The reason is the central role of the blood platelets in blood clotting. If these cells are too few (e.g. below 50000/μl), then sufficient hemostasis cannot be guaranteed.

Further symptoms can be enlargement of the lymph glands. The spleen may swell. Especially in ALL (Acute Lymphatic Leukemia) the meninges (so-called Meningeosis leucaemica) can be affected.

The kidney can fail (renal failure) because it is literally overwhelmed by the increased cell turnover and the waste products it has to dispose of, and is thus one of the main causes of death, along with cerebral haemorrhages and serious infections. Leukemia is not always easy to detect. There are usually no “typical” symptoms!

Thus, all symptoms can also occur in the context of much less dramatic, but more frequent disease patterns. They are therefore not proof of the presence of blood cancer. If symptoms persist, you should nevertheless consult your doctor for clarification. The following symptoms can help to detect leukemia: Flu-like symptoms such as weakness, fever, aching limbs, etc. Night sweat, weight loss, fatigue Increased tendency to infection Bleeding signs, such as heaped bruises, bleeding from the mucous membranes, nose bleeding or spot-like skin bleeding Paleness Pale bone pain without clear localization Headache, flashes of light, visual disturbances Upper abdominal pain

  • Flu-like complaints, such as weakness, fever, aching limbs, etc.
  • Night sweat, weight loss, fatigue
  • Increased tendency to infections
  • Signs of bleeding, such as frequent bruising, mucosal bleeding, nosebleed or spot bleeding
  • Pallor
  • Bone pain without clear localization
  • Headaches, flashes of light, vision problems
  • Upper abdominal pain
  • Neck Stiffness