Background: Leukemia and lymphomas are still the common childhood cancers in Iran. This study was undertaken to determine the prevalence of signs and symptoms of these malignancies in children of Fars Province, Southern Iran.
Methods: A total of 368 cases of children who were less than 15 years old and diagnosed as acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL, n=211), acute myeloid leukemia (AML, n=64), Burkitt lymphoma (BL, n=40), chronic myeloid leukemia (CML, n=5), Hodgkin's disease (HD, n=33) or non-Burkitt-type, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NBNHL, n=15) referring to the hospitals of Shiraz University of Medical Sciences from April 1997 to March 2002 were enrolled. A questionnaire was provided to record the age, median age at the onset of the disease, sex, type of malignancy and the signs and symptoms at the time of presentation.
Results: The common sign or symptoms were fever (74%), in ALL, AML, NHL, and BL patients, hepatosplenomegaly (100%) in CML patients, and lymphadenopathy (54%) and fever (54%) in Hodgkin's disease.
Conclusion: Knowledge of signs and symptoms and types of presentations of childhood leukemia and lymphoma may help a physician to improve the patient's outcome. This study revealed that attention to uncommon signs and symptoms in history taking and physical examination together with laboratory tests may increase the physicians' awareness and better diagnosis of pediatric malignancies and would also be beneficial for the patient.