Archbishop Thomas J. Murphy started chemotherapy Wednesday for his leukemia, a diocese spokesman said.
The treatment usually takes seven days, but it is followed by waiting to determine whether the cancer has gone into remission. The regimen of treatment and waiting lasts 3 to 6 weeks, doctors at Providence Seattle Medical Center said.
Murphy, the spiritual leader for 353,000 Roman Catholics in western Washington, has acute myelogenous leukemia, a potentially fatal cancer of the blood and bone marrow. His condition was described as “guarded.”
Doctors at Providence have declined to give a long-term prognosis for Murphy, except to say a full recovery is “not the most likely outcome.”
Murphy was admitted to the hospital Sunday. On Tuesday, he underwent dialysis to address reduced kidney function related to the leukemia, and apheresis, a process that strains out leukemia cells in the blood.