Leukemia: Chronic Myelomonocytic

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Early Detection, Diagnosis, and Staging TOPICS

Signs and symptoms of chronic myelomonocytic leukemia

The most common sign of chronic myelomonocytic (MY-eh-loh-MAH-noh-SIH-tik) leukemia (CMML) is having too many monocytes (on a blood test).

Having too many monocytes also causes many of the symptoms of CMML. These monocytes can settle in the spleen or liver, enlarging these organs. An enlarged spleen (called splenomegaly) can cause pain in the upper left part of the abdomen. It can also cause people to complain of feeling full too fast when they eat. If the liver gets too large (called hepatomegaly), it mainly causes discomfort in the upper right part of the abdomen.

Low numbers of other types of blood cells cause many of the signs and symptoms of CMML:

  • A shortage of red blood cells (anemia) can lead to feeling very tired, with shortness of breath and pale skin.
  • Not having enough normal white blood cells (leukopenia) can lead to frequent or severe infections.
  • A shortage of blood platelets (thrombocytopenia) can lead to problems with easy bruising and bleeding. Some people notice frequent or severe nosebleeds or bleeding from the gums.

Other symptoms can include weight loss, fever, and loss of appetite. Of course, these problems occur not only with CMML but are more often caused by something other than cancer. Still, if you are having symptoms, you should tell your doctor so a cause can be found.

Last Medical Review: 01/19/2014
Last Revised: 02/17/2016