What Are the Symptoms of Spleen Cancer?

Surgery may be necessary for a cancerous spleen.
Internal organs, including the spleen, which is located to the left of the stomach.
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  • Written By: Autumn Rivers
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 05 August 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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It is rare for spleen cancer to actually originate in the spleen; in most cases, the cancer spreads to there from other parts of the lymphatic system. The point of the lymphatic system is to fight infections, so signs of cancer in this area tend to include flu symptoms, such as swollen glands, aches and fever. Fatigue, another common sign of cancer, is usually caused by the weakened immune system. Abdominal pain is another symptom felt by many patients, but it is such a vague symptom that it doesn't necessarily indicate spleen cancer, so this sign alone does not tend to concern patients or doctors. This type of cancer also affects the skin, which may become itchy or bruised, though the bones and joints also are often affected.

In many cases of spleen cancer, more than just this organ is affected; the entire lymphatic system may be impacted. The result is that patients generally do not feel well, in part because their weakened immune system may make them more susceptible to the flu and other illnesses. A fever and swollen lymph nodes are some of the main symptoms, though chills and night sweats also are common signs of this type of cancer. One of the initial spleen cancer symptoms tends to be fatigue, which may be caused by illnesses such as the flu, or it may be the result of low blood cell counts.

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Abdominal pain is common in most cases of spleen cancer, because the organ gets so large that it becomes uncomfortable for most patients. In fact, it may get so big that it presses against the stomach, greatly reducing the appetite and leading patients to lose weight unexpectedly. Of course, there are various other explanations for abdominal pain so, while many patients with this type of cancer notice this symptom, it rarely leads to the correct diagnosis. For this reason, it is usually necessary to run several tests before diagnosing patients with cancer of the lymphatic system.

Even the skin is often affected by spleen cancer. It tends to become itchy early on in the disease. The reason for this is that the infected spleen cannot properly filter toxins out of the bloodstream, so they build up, which can result in itchy, inflamed skin. Patients who scratch their skin excessively are at risk of developing an infection, but even those who do not scratch may notice that their skin bleeds and bruises more easily than before. In addition, the bones and joints tend to hurt when patients suffer from spleen cancer.

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Discuss this Article

SarahGen
Post 3

@anamur-- My brother's dog died from canine spleen cancer. The tumor ruptured and caused internal bleeding.

He had lost his appetite and had lost a lot of weight. There was also visible swelling in his chest and abdomen. I guess it was the fluid filling up around the tumor.

If your dog loses energy and weight, you should have your vet do some diagnostic testing right away.

serenesurface
Post 2

What kind of symptoms are seen when a dog has spleen cancer?

burcinc
Post 1

My aunt was diagnosed with spleen cancer last year. She didn't have any symptoms, no spleen pain, nothing. She found out by chance during her routine check-up that she has an enlarged spleen. The doctors did more testing and a biopsy and that's how she found out.

Spleen cancer is a very sneaky one, it's scary.

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