Coughing or trouble breathing
Many forms of leukemia that affects the lymph nodes or thymus (a small organ in front of the trachea) put pressure on the structures in the middle of the chest. Furthermore, swollen thymus or lymph nodes may press on the trachea, causing upper respiratory tract symptoms such as coughing or breathing difficulty.
In some cases where the number of white blood cells is very high, the leukemia cells can build up in the lungs’ small blood vessels which can also cause breathing problems. Studies and clinical trials have shown that these symptoms can be secondary to inflammation and accumulation of mucus in the respiratory tract.