ZocdocAnswersDo children with leukemia frequently get fevers?

Question

Do children with leukemia frequently get fevers?

I know I am a worrying-mom-type, but could the fact that my 8 year old has had several inexplicable fevers mean that she has something very serious, like leukemia? I heard that cancers of the blood and bones can cause fevers, so I just want some reassurance that this isn't the culprit.

Answer

Leukemia is one of the most common child hood cancers and, although still rare, is a major concern for many parents. The doctors who will be well qualified to discuss this issue with you in greater detail include your child's pediatrician. There are many things that can cause fevers in young children. By far, the most common causes are things that you do not have to worry about. For example most viral infections, like the common cold or a stomach bug, will cause fever. These general occur for several days and then resolve. Occasionally a more serious infection, such as a bacterial infection of the lung or the blood can cause a fever. Usually the child appears more ill with these infections. Finally there are numerous causes for recurrent inexplicable fevers. These include various rarer infections, arthritis and other rheumatological conditions, and cancers. If your child looks ill, has bone pain, weight loss, night sweats, or multiple swollen glands, you should considered bringing them in for evaluation. As always the diagnosis and the management of your child's symptoms will require a physical examination by their pediatrician. Setting up an office visit with your pediatrician is highly recommended.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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