Is cancer always one or can it be more than one?

I just talked with a relative of mine.  He has been battling cancer for some time.  His type of cancer is very perplexing to many as it would seem as is it many types of cancer …or is it?  He was diagnosed with nasopharyngeal non Hodgkin’s lymphoma (ie. a cancer in part of the nose).  So is this nose cancer of blood cancer (lymphoma)?  Well, it is a bit complicated, but essentially its a blood cancer.  The lymphoma which is a cancer of the blood cells (usually T or B cells) that has found its way to the nasal cavity and established itself.  When that happens, it presents itself as a solid tumor in the nose, but it is NOT a nose tumor as it did not initiate there.  You see some blood cancers can leave the blood and settle down into any organ or tissue.  So, scientists or lab folks can tell what kind of cancer it is by looking at the markers it has (certain protein flags displayed on the surface of the cell or sometimes inside the cell too) that tells us what tissue it originates from.  So, when you hear something that does not make sense to you…then ask yourself…where does the doctor suspect the cancer originated? Blood cancers can leave the blood and settle almost anywhere.  Solid tumors that don’t come from the blood can also start in one place and then move to another at a later time.  We call that metastasis.  Anyhow, just ask the doctor if you are not sure where the cancer originated and exactly what kind of cancer it is!

I hope this helps!

Dr. C (


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