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Blood Cancer Symptoms and Diagnosis

Blood Cancer Symptoms and Signs

Each type of blood cancer is different, but they can share some common symptoms and signs.

Some people may not have any symptoms until the disease is advanced. Or, sometimes the symptoms may be mistaken for a severe cold or flu.

Some common blood cancer symptoms include:

  • Coughing or chest pain
  • Fever or chills
  • Frequent infections
  • Itchy skin or rash
  • Loss of appetite or nausea
  • Night sweats
  • Persistent weakness and fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swollen, painless lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, or groin

Blood Cancer Diagnosis and Staging

Your UPMC Hillman Cancer Center care team will conduct tests to classify the type and stage of your blood cancer.

Staging is a process that tells the spread and severity of the cancer. Diagnosis and staging often happen at the same time.

Tests and procedures to diagnose blood cancers may include:

  • Blood tests
  • Bone marrow exam
  • Diagnostic imaging tests — CT scan, PET scan, and x-ray
  • Physical exam
  • Surgical lymph node removal (for examination)

Staging lets each member of your care team know the exact type, location, and spread of the cancer.

Staging systems are rather consistent for cancers that affect organs and other tissues, but blood cancer differs. Each type of blood cancer has its own staging criteria.

Your doctor will explain how he or she stages your blood cancer.

Contact Us About Blood Cancer Symptoms

To reach the Mario Lemieux Center for Blood Cancers at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, call 412-864-6600.