Cancer Keys: Leukaemia and Hepatosplenomegaly

13th March 2020

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.

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