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1-year Old Swollen Spleen

Posted by


I have a 1-year old who has a swollen spleen. We brought him in because he was vomiting over the holidays starting at Thanksgiving, but he had a fever and everything that screamed virus. A week later, he got much better, no fever, eating and playing normal. However, he vomited twice in one day after eating, but had no fever. 

When this happened around Thanksgiving, we brought him in. He had gained weight and everything looks viral to the doctors. I think they even checked his CBC because it was that time for him. Everything looked good and of course normal with the virus.

Week later (this week specifically) as I said above, more issues. This time when I brought him in this past Monday, the doctor felt a swollen spleen. She ordered another CBC and it came back pretty normal. His WBC was slightly elevated at 13.1, but that could be due to the fact he is fighting off something.

Now at this point, I'm worried. Swollen spleens are not common. Although he is acting fine, the doctor wants us to come back and check the symptoms next Monday. She mentioned ultrasound and checking for mono among other things. I brought up cancer because I don't know many things that cause swollen spleens in children other than cancer that he could contract.

She said the CBC didn't show anything, but we can continue to investigate and refer him to a blood specialist for more tests. Something is causing the spleen to enlarge and that's what we need to find.

Last night, my son vomited again in his sleep. Doesn't seem very active and is now looking sick, but with no fever etc. This could just be reflux, he has had it before, but there is that swollen spleen and the worries.

So, my question to the community is there: what causes swollen spleens in children? There is not alot of information about it that doesn't point to cancer or Mono. Im pretty worried because it doesn't seem to be virial or bacterial that he could catch at his age.

Bill - Macmillan
Posted by

Hello, DataDad.


I can appreciate that you’re worried about your one-year old’s recent problems with vomiting and an enlarged spleen. Unfortunately, part of the difficulty in seeking opinions on an online cancer support community is that you automatically limit the knowledge base that you can tap into.

My nursing information colleagues and I have worked in cancer for many years and we’re not diagnosticians. What we know about is cancer, its diagnosis and treatment but we’re limited in what we can write about NON-cancer illnesses.

Your doctor has mentioned checking for other things because doctors work in a different direction. They think of all the possible causes of a symptom, like an enlarged spleen (splenomegaly), and come up with a differential diagnosis. The tests can then be used to narrow down the possible causes.

Even after an infection has been successfully fought off by the body it can leave after-effects and this may well account for your son’s slightly raised white cell count and possibly the enlarged spleen too.

I hope that your little one’s problems resolve soon and that you get good support and explanations from his doctor. – Best wishes, Bill (Cancer Information Nurse)