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What is Waldenström macroglobulinaemia (WM)?

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Waldenström macroglobulinaemia (WM) symptoms and diagnosis

There's a range of possible symptoms with WM. Some are common and others vary from person to person, depending on how the disease develops.

The most common symptoms of WM include:

  • extreme tiredness (fatigue)
  • long-lasting or frequent infections

If too many LPL cells have built up in your bone marrow, you may experience:

  • anaemia (not enough red blood cells in the blood)
  • breathlessness
  • bruising or bleeding
  • pancytopenia (a condition where you don’t have enough red blood cells, white blood cells or platelets)

If you have a lump in your lymph nodes, spleen or other organs, you may also experience swellings in your neck, armpits or groin (known as lymphadenopathy).

If you have too much IgM in your blood, causing it to become thick, you may also suffer from:

  • headaches
  • dizziness
  • confusion
  • nosebleeds
  • blurred vision
  • kidney problems.

Other symptoms

People with WM may also have certain symptoms known as B symptoms, which can include unexplained weight loss, heavy sweating and fever (high temperature).

Large amounts of IgM in the blood can cause damage to your nerves, known as neuropathy. This can lead to pain or numbness, often in the legs and feet.

Asymptomatic Waldenström macroglobulinaemia (WM)

Some people have no symptoms when they are diagnosed. This is known as asymptomatic or smouldering WM.

Tests and diagnosis for Waldenström macroglobulinaemia (WM)

To find out if you have WM, you may need to have blood tests, urine tests, CT scans, a bone marrow biopsy, and cytogenetic testing of blood or bone marrow samples.

Find out more about blood cancer tests and diagnosis.

Worried about anything or have questions?

If you have any questions, worries, or just need someone to talk to, please don't hesitate to contact our Support Services Team via phone or email.

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