Cancer Keys: Leukaemia and Hepatosplenomegaly

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Swelling of the liver and spleen can be due to a number of causes such as infection, however in some cases it can be an indicator of leukaemia.

A patient with an enlarged spleen may present with a feeling of discomfort or pain behind the left ribs and feel full very quickly after eating.

Helpful hint

NICE NG12 guidelines advise that unexplained hepatosplenomegaly in children requires a referral for immediate specialist assessment, and in adults a very urgent full blood count (within 48 hours).

Be aware: an enlarged spleen can be a symptom of lymphoma. NICE NG12 guidelines advise to take into account any associated symptoms, particularly fever, night sweats, shortness of breath, pruritus or weight loss.

Cancer Keys are brought to you by GatewayC.

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Latest from the Blog

Cancer Keys: Migraines versus Brain Tumours

Cancer Keys: Migraines versus Brain Tumours

Potential pitfall: A migraine headache is typically a unilateral, frontal, throbbing headache which may be associated with photophobia or phonophobia. Although the intensity can vary, the characteristics of the headache tend not to change. Helpful hint: The most...

read more
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Tips on what to include in your referral letter

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False negative chest X-rays The main investigation for suspected lung cancer in primary care is a chest X-ray. However, reports show that some patients with normal chest X-rays still transpire to have lung cancer. Potential pitfall Although most large lung cancers can...

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