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"Can cancer spread from the blood to the organs?"


My mom is being tested right now for possibly having leukemia. She is in her 50s and obviously we are all scared. If she does have leukemia, what are the chances that the cancer has spread from her blood to her organs? How long does that take to happen?


Leukemia is a general type of cancer in which white blood cells begin to multiply rapidly and without control. There are multiple types of leukemia, depending on which type of white blood cell is involved, and the treatments for each type are all slightly different. However, since leukemia is a cancer of the white blood cells, it doesn't really fit the pattern of other cancers in the sense of 'spreading to the organs'.

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Since the white blood cells are in the blood, and since the blood circulates everywhere in the body, the cancer cells are by definition found everywhere in the body. This does not affect treatment decisions, which are based much more on specialized tests on the genetics and characteristics of the individual white blood cells. As always the diagnosis and the management of your mother's particular concerns will require a physical examination by her personal physician. Setting up a visit with her primary care doctor to get this questions answered is advised.

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