Cancer Keys: Leukaemia and Bruising

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Leukaemia is a cancer that begins in the bone marrow, leading to the over production of white blood cells. This can negatively affect the blood’s platelet count and in turn, impact the blood’s ability to clot.

Potential Pitfall

Many of us experience bruising, with presentation common in groups such as the elderly population (with thinner skin and more fragile tissue), or active young adults or children playing regular sport. However, patients presenting with bruising without a clear cause should be reason for further consideration.

Helpful hint

A reduced platelet count caused by leukaemia can reduce a patient’s clotting ability. As a result, they may present with unexplained bruising.

NICE NG12 guidelines advise consider a very urgent full blood count (within 48 hours) to assess for leukaemia in children, young people or adults with unexplained bruising or bleeding.

 

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