I have Leukemia and chest pains. What could be going on?

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Submitted by Dr T on October 20, 2010 – 7:25am

i am a 26 yr old female and i have (AML) i had to have a toe amputated and leukemia. i been having some chest pain on the left side that goes into my arm down to my finger tips the feeling of it may be some times felt as a burning or a trying to get a cramp but lately i been light headed and nauseous and also feeling a little confused but i went to the dr and the did a host of test but couldnt find anything i just have a feeling that they looked over something can u please help me figure out what going on.

With Acute Myeloid leukemia (AML) the first thing to do is to make sure your symptoms are not associated with your present illness. Thus my first question to you is, are you still being treated with chemotherapy?

I assume that your tests included blood counts, chest Xrays and possibly a CT scan? What about a neurological exam to make sure the nerve to your arm is is not being pressed on by something like an enlarged lymph node? A low blood count (anemia) could explain some of your symptoms.

(For other readers, AML is a cancer of white blood cells. It is the most common acute leukemia affecting adults, and its incidence increases with age. It is a relatively rare disease, accounting for approximately 1.2% of cancer deaths in the United States. Most signs and symptoms of AML are caused by the replacement of normal blood cells with leukemic cells. The early signs are often vague and non-specific, and may be similar to those of influenza or other common illnesses.

Other symptoms include fatigue, weight loss, shortness of breath, easy bruising and bleeding, bone and joint pain and increased risk of infection. A lack of normal white blood cell production makes the patient susceptible to infections. Low red blood cell count (anemia) can cause fatigue, rapid heart beats and shortness of breath. A lack of platelets can lead to easy bruising or bleeding with minor trauma. Enlargement of the spleen may occur, but it is typically mild and asymptomatic. Lymph node swelling is rare in AML, in contrast to acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Treatment includes chemotherapy and possibly a stem cell transplant.)

Your symptoms don’t sound cardiac in origin, but somehow made me think of fluid around your heart, which can be easily detected with an ECHO cardiogram. Treatment depends of course on finding an explanation for your symptoms.

Take a look here for more info about fluid around your heart, and information about chest pains, arm pains etc.:

My recommendation is therefore to go back to your doctors and ask for more tests (ECO, CT) and possibly a referral to another specialist, depending on the results.

Hope this helps,


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