Cancer cells can spread from where they start to other parts of the body. Unlike other types of cancer, leukemia does not usually form solid tumours in other organs in the body. Leukemia is a cancer of the blood-forming tissue in the bone marrow, and it can develop wherever the blood travels. As a result, chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is often widespread when it is found.
Understanding how a type of cancer usually progresses helps your healthcare team plan your treatment and future care. Leukemia cells usually collect in the lymph nodes, spleen and liver. The buildup of leukemia cells in these organs affects them so they don’t work normally.
Symptoms of the progression of CLL include
In rare cases, CLL develops into a high-grade non-Hodgkin lymphoma. This condition is called Richter’s syndrome, or a Richter transformation, and if this happens, it usually develops into a diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), which is treated like a lymphoma.