Red flag sign of leukaemia that can appear on your hands - and other symptoms of blood cancer

A symptom of leukaemia can appear on your hands
A symptom of leukaemia can appear on your hands -Credit:Getty Images/iStockphoto

A health expert has said that a common symptom of leukaemia can appear on your hands.

Simon Ridley, Leukaemia UK’s director of research and advocacy, explained that bruising on the hands could be a sign of this disease. Leukaemia is a type of cancer that affects blood cells in your bone marrow – typically white blood cells.

In the UK, there are around 9,900 new diagnoses of leukaemia made every year. It also accounts for approximately 4,800 fatalities, reports

As is the case with any medical condition, the sooner you become aware of the warning symptoms, the sooner you can get the treatment and support you need. With this in mind, Simon explained more about the signs to look out for.

“One of the common warning signs and symptoms of leukaemia is bruising,” he said. While bruising could easily be mistaken for something less serious - like a knock or injury - the type of bruising that occurs due to leukaemia is slightly different.

They might appear in “unexpected places” or might appear more severe than usual. Simon added: “These bruises are different to the types which we all get from time to time as they can appear in unusual or unexpected locations, such as on the hands for adults.

“A person with leukaemia may get more bruises than someone is likely to get through everyday life and without any real explanation for them, such as a recent bang or knock. Or a deep bruise may appear following a minor incident when previously it may only have been slight. These bruises can also take longer to heal than would usually be expected.”

They might also be accompanied by heavy bleeding, he said. Simon explained: “This type of bruising could come alongside unusual bleeding, such as nose bleeds or heavy periods. Leukaemia is a type of blood cancer, so it makes sense that it could cause such symptoms, as bruising is bleeding happening underneath the skin.”

He says leukaemia usually originates in the bone marrow and it is caused by the production of abnormal white blood cells, which cannot perform their usual function of fighting infection. They stop the bone marrow from producing healthy red blood cells and platelets which allow the body to function normally.

According to Simon, other symptoms of leukaemia can include fatigue, fever and repeated infections. Blood Cancer UK also warns that the disease can cause unexplained weight loss and swollen lymph nodes (glands in your neck, armpit and groin).

If you experience any symptoms you should speak to your GP. More information about leukaemia is available on the NHS website here.