Pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL): Our experts are here for your child

If your child has acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), UW Health Kids | Carbone Cancer Center experts — members of Wisconsin's only comprehensive cancer center, as designated by the National Cancer Institute — are ready to provide world-class care.


What is ALL?

Pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common type of childhood cancer and affects the white blood cells. These cells fight infection and help protect the body against disease. ALL affects a type of white blood cell called lymphocytes, causing them to build up in the liver, spleen and lymph nodes.


Could it be ALL?

Symptoms of pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia can include:

  • Frequent infections

  • Fever

  • Easy bruising

  • Bleeding that is hard to stop

  • Flat, dark-red skin spots (petechiae) due to bleeding under the skin

  • Pain in the bones or joints

  • Lumps in the neck, underarm, stomach or groin

  • Pain or fullness below the ribs

  • Weakness, fatigue

  • Paleness

  • Loss of appetite

  • Shortness of breath

To diagnose ALL, your child’s doctor will ask questions about their medical history and do a physical examination. They may also request additional tests which can include:

  • Blood tests

  • X-rays

  • Bone marrow biopsy

  • Lumbar puncture 

  • Cytogenetic analysis

Smiling child with sign reading UW Health Kids
UW Health Kids
Our pediatric experts have served the special needs of children for more than 100 years. We focus on each child’s unique needs and offer social and emotional support to help you and your child face even the most complex condition. Our long history includes the creation of medical advances that save lives around the world. Together, we get your child back to health and enjoying being a kid.


Tailored to your child’s condition

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia in children is treated using chemotherapy. If the leukemia is fast growing or has come back, your child’s doctor may recommend immunotherapy or a bone marrow transplant.

Understanding cancer in children

The UW Health Kids | Carbone Cancer Center team offers the most advanced treatment options. Our pediatric cancer and blood disorder experts are national research leaders. We test new therapies and continue to work on therapies for pediatric cancer and blood disorders. For many children with rare or hard-to-treat conditions, clinical trials provide new options.

Search our clinical trials for children

CAR T-Cell therapy

UW Carbone Cancer Center researchers played a leading role in the development of this form of immunotherapy which uses your child’s own immune cells to fight and kill their cancer.

Learn more about CAR T-Cell therapy

Meet our team

Your child’s team

Your child’s care is our top priority and we understand the unique needs they have.

Your child’s team will include:

  • Oncologists (cancer doctors)

  • Hematologists (blood disease doctors)

  • Nurse practitioners

  • Child life specialists

  • Pain management specialists

  • Physical, occupational and speech therapists

  • Radiologists and radiation technologists

  • Social workers

  • Surgeons

Our providers


When you need us the most

UW Health Kids | Carbone Cancer Center experts are dedicated to diagnosing and treating all infants, children and adolescents with cancer, including acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Our pediatric oncologists are part of the UW Carbone Cancer Center which is a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center. This designation means that the doctors taking care of your child are experts in cancer treatment, research and education. 

At American Family Children’s Hospital, you will find a friendly, child-centered environment. Our hospital is designed with relaxing spaces and areas where children are encouraged to play.

Patient and support services

You’re never alone

When your child needs hospitalization, they will be admitted to American Family Children's Hospital in Madison, Wis.

Child life specialists help your child and family cope with any fears and anxieties. The American Family Children's Hospital patient and family visitor guide features information about:

  • Hero beads

  • Hospital school

  • Positive Image Center

  • Restoring Hope Transplant House (for blood and bone marrow transplant)

  • Spiritual care services

  • Tyler's Place (sibling child care)

Additional resources

Pediatric cancer services

With our expertise comes compassion. Our team considers you and your child part of our family. We will be by your side every step of the way. From diagnosis through treatment and into adulthood, we will care for your child as if they are our own.

Learn more