Signs and Symptoms of Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukemia

The most common sign of chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML) is having too many monocytes (seen 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 belly (abdomen). It can also cause people to notice they feel full too fast when they eat. If the liver gets too big (called hepatomegaly), it 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 easy bruising and bleeding. Some people notice frequent or severe nosebleeds or bleeding from their gums.

Other symptoms can include weight loss, fever, and loss of appetite. Of course, many of these problems are caused more often by something other than cancer. If you're having symptoms, you should see a doctor so a cause can be found.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team
Our team is made up of doctors and master’s-prepared nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

 Myelodysplastic/Myeloproliferative Neoplasms Treatment (PDQ) - Patient Version. August 12, 2015. Accessed on October 4, 2017 at www.cancer.gov/types/myeloproliferative/patient/mds-mpd-treatment-pdq#section/_278.

Last Medical Review: September 19, 2017 Last Revised: October 24, 2017

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