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 spread wherever the blood travels. As a result, chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) is often widespread when it is found.
CML usually progresses slowly. It starts with too many granulocytes (a type of white blood cell) in the bone marrow. The abnormal granulocytes are called leukemia cells. The red blood cells and platelets cannot work properly because they are crowded out by too many leukemia cells.
Understanding how a type of cancer usually progresses helps your healthcare team plan your treatment and future care. CML cells usually collect in the:
Leukemia does not usually form solid tumours in these organs. The build-up of abnormal cells in the organs affects them so they don’t work normally.
The following are signs that CML is progressing from one phase to another:
The Canadian Cancer Society provides helpful information about government income programs, financial resources and other resources available to families struggling to make sense of the personal financial burden they face.