Pre-leukemia, also known as myelodysplastic syndromes, or smouldering leukemia, is related to leukemia in that the bone marrow does not function properly. In pre-leukemia, the immature cells in the bone marrow, known as blasts, mature into non-functional cells. This is closely related to AML leukemia, which is a fast-progressing version in which the blasts do not mature at all. There are several different types of these pre-leukemia diseases - CML, and a few different types of anemia. Pre-leukemia is most common in older people but can occur in younger people as well. Since the blasts do not mature properly, or at all, there are lower blood counts. Low red blood cell counts lead to anemia, low white blood cell counts lead to more common infection and less ability to fight infection off, and lower platelet counts result in bleeding and clotting problems. It's often treated with blood transfusions, chemotherapy and bone marrow transplant.
I can't tell you the exact symptoms of pre-leukemia but I can tell you about AML leukemia, which is closely related. My son E was diagnosed with a Wilms' Tumour as a newborn, won his battle, and was recently diagnosed with Secondary Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML). His cancer is most likely a secondary cancer caused by the chemotherapy his first time when he fought Wilms. E somehow passed his screenings he has every 3 months back in October but in the end of November we started to notice he wasn't quite himself, and he was diagnosed December 19th.
There are lots of symptoms of leukemia but each individual is different. Some display some symptoms while others display other ones. E had a cold in November that he just couldn't kick coupled with a fever. We took him to the doctor and he was given an antibiotic. Along with the cold he was very, very tired. He was also diagnosed with anemia with no explanation as to why he was anemic. He got a little better but as soon as he finished the antibiotic he got sick again. He usually has a couple bruises here and there since he is a 2 year old. His walking was greatly affected from one of the drugs in his first chemo cocktail so he trips and falls pretty often. But the bruising he had was more than usual - he bruised at the slightest bump. That's when we really knew something was wrong and took him to the doctor again. Once he was diagnosed we found out that his spleen and liver were enlarged - also symptoms of leukemia. Due to the extent of enlargement of his spleen, he had it removed after a round of chemotherapy. So far he has had 3 strong doses of chemo and 2 consolidation rounds, and he's labeled as being in remission! He still has 3-5 rounds of consolidation chemo left just to make sure all of the cancerous cells are gone. He will also have a bone marrow transplant when a donor becomes available.
He had some joint pain at the time of diagnosis. I have to say I didn't really think too much of the joint pain because he doesn't walk well due to one of the previous chemotherapy drugs he had - Vincristine. Because of Vincristine his leg muscles are weaker and he walks with "slapfoot" or "dropfoot" and he trips and falls fairly often. I figured his joint pain was because of falling but since his diagnosis I now see that it was probably because of the leukemia. On treatment he has had a significant amount of bone and joint pain, especially early on. When it's clear that he is in pain, he does get pain meds to help. I think the painkillers do help him but I think even then he does have some pain but duller than without painkillers.
I hope this helped you out some and I hope nothing but the best for you. If you have any more questions feel free to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or IM me (crazycanuckj).
My 2 year old son is a warrior who beat a Wilms' Tumour and is currently battling Secondary Acute Myelogenous Leukemia.
· 1 decade ago