Metastatic Cancer

Metastatic Cancer

What is the definition of metastatic cancer?

Cancer that has gone beyond its original site to other parts of the body is known as metastatic cancer. To completely comprehend metastatic cancer, we must first define it:

The term "metastasis" refers to the spread of cancer. Cancer cells, unlike normal cells, may spread outside of the body's original location. Metastatic cancer, often known as advanced cancer or Stage IV cancer, occurs when this happens. Nearly all cancers have the potential to spread, but whether they do so is dependent on a number of variables. There are three types of metastatic tumors (metastases):

They have the ability to grow right into the tissue around the tumor.

Cancer cells have the ability to move via your circulation to other parts of your body.

Cancer cells may migrate via your lymph system to lymph nodes locally or far away.

What kinds of cancers are the most likely to spread?

As previously stated, almost all tumors have the potential to spread beyond the area of genesis. Metastatic cancer is one of the most prevalent forms.

  • Breast cancer is a disease that affects women.
  • Prostate cancer is a disease that affects men.
  • Cancer of the lungs.
  • Cancer of the kidneys.
  • Thyroid carcinoma is a disease that affects the thyroid gland.
  • Colon cancer is a kind of cancer that affects the intestin
  • Pancreatic cancer is a kind of cancer that affects the pancreas
  • Bone cancer is a malignancy of the bones.
  • Cancer of the liver.


What are the most prevalent metastatic cancer locations?

The lungs, liver, bones, and brain are the most prevalent places for cancer to spread. The adrenal gland, lymph nodes, skin, and other organs are among the various areas where it may be found.

A metastasis may sometimes be discovered without a recognized original malignancy (point of origin). In this case, your healthcare practitioner will do a thorough investigation to determine the main cancer cause. If none can be detected, the condition is classified as cancer of undetermined origin (CUPS).

What do the signs and symptoms of metastatic cancer look like?

Metastatic cancer may manifest itself in some persons with little or no symptoms. If symptoms exist, they are determined by the site of the metastasis.

Metastasis of the bones

Bone metastases may be painful or not. Bone breaking after a mild injury or no damage is the earliest indicator of bone metastases. Severe back pain that is accompanied by leg numbness or bowel or bladder control issues should be checked right once.

Metastasis of the brain

Headache, dizziness, vision issues, speech problems, nausea, trouble walking, and disorientation are all signs that a tumor has spread to the brain.

Metastasis of the lungs

The signs and symptoms of cancer spread to the lungs are frequently indistinct. This is due to the fact that they might be mistaken for symptoms of other illnesses. A cough (productive or nonproductive), coughing up blood, chest discomfort, or shortness of breath are all warning symptoms.

Metastasis of the liver

Pain, weight loss, nausea, lack of appetite, abdominal fluid (ascites), and jaundice are all symptoms of liver metastases (yellowing of the skin and the whites of eyes).

How does metastatic cancer spread and what causes it?

When cancer cells break away from the primary tumor and move to other regions of the body through the bloodstream or lymph arteries, it is called metastatic cancer.

What tests will my doctor do to determine whether I have metastatic cancer?

There is no universal test for detecting metastases. Tests will be ordered by your healthcare practitioner depending on the sort of cancer you have and the symptoms you've experienced.

Tests on the blood

If your liver enzymes are high, routine blood tests can alert your doctor. This might be a sign of a liver metastasis. However, even in the presence of advanced cancer, these blood test findings are often benign.

What are the markers of cancer ?

Tumor markers are found in certain malignancies and may be used to track the progress of the disease after it has been diagnosed. If the levels of tumor markers rise, it might indicate that your cancer is progressing. Here are a few examples:

CEA stands for colon cancer (carcinoembryonic antigen).

CA-125 is a marker for ovarian cancer.

PSA is a test for prostate cancer (prostate-specific antigen).

AFP (alpha-fetoprotein) and HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) are cancer tests (human chorionic gonadotropin).

Because certain tumor markers are less specific, they aren't utilized to diagnose metastasis.

What are the organ scanning methods ?

There are a variety of tests that "photograph" the interior of your body. Appropriate tests are determined by the symptoms and cancer kind. The following imaging examinations may be performed:

  • Ultrasound is one method of examining the abdomen and detecting malignancies. It can detect fluid in the belly and distinguish between cysts that are fluid-filled and solid masses.
  • Abnormalities in the head, neck, chest, abdomen, and pelvis may be detected with a CT scan (computed tomography). Tumors in the lungs, liver, or lymph nodes may also be detected.
  • A bone scan uses a radioactive tracer that binds to damaged bones and appears on the image as a "hot spot." It's best for looking for signs of cancer-related bone deterioration across the body. If your doctor suspects a fracture, he or she may order more X-rays to assess the injury.
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is a kind of imaging that employs radio waves and magnets to create images of the interior of your body. A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan may detect spinal cord degeneration and brain metastases.
  • PET (positron emission tomography) scans are used to detect anomalies throughout the body. It employs a unique dye that contains radioactive tracers that "light up" troublesome spots.

These tests' findings may not give conclusive solutions. Your healthcare professional may also do a biopsy (a tiny tissue sample) on the suspected metastatic tumor in certain situations.

What is the treatment for metastatic cancer?

The primary location of cancer determines how metastasis is handled. For instance, if a person has breast cancer and it spreads to their liver, the patient is still treated as if it were breast cancer. This is because cancer cells haven't altered; they've merely moved to a new location.

Your doctor may choose to treat metastatic cancers in a particular method in certain circumstances.

Metastasis of the bones

If bone tumors aren't causing discomfort, your doctor may keep an eye on you or prescribe medication. Radiation treatment may be recommended if there is discomfort or if the bone tissue is weak.

Metastasis of the brain

Treatment options may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, gamma knife surgery, or steroids, depending on the depth of the illness and the number of metastatic tumors.

Metastasis of the lungs

The treatment of metastatic lung cancers is dependent on the circumstances. It will be treated with the same medications as primary cancer in the majority of instances (where cancer originated). A treatment called thoracentesis may help people breathe better if they have fluid around their lungs.

Metastasis of the liver

Metastatic liver tumors may be treated in a variety of methods. The kind of original malignancy and the number of metastatic tumors determine the recommended therapy. In most circumstances, your doctor will treat liver metastases in the same manner that the main tumor was treated. Your doctor may suggest surgery or radiofrequency ablation if the illness hasn't gone too far (RFA). In most cases, organ transplantation is not an option for patients with metastatic illness.

Is it possible to avoid metastatic cancer?

When cancer is discovered at an earlier stage, systemic therapy (also known as adjuvant or neoadjuvant treatment) may be prescribed in addition to surgery to lower the risk of spreading. Chemotherapy, hormonal therapies, and immunotherapy are examples of these treatments. In these fields, researchers are working to identify strategies to delay, halt, or prevent cancer cells from spreading.

If I have metastatic cancer, what can I expect?

Your healthcare practitioner will collaborate with you carefully. They'll keep track of your symptoms and come up with ways to alleviate them. You'll probably have a lot of doctor's appointments and have to make key choices about your general health.

Is it possible to cure metastatic cancer?

Metastatic cancer is almost never treatable. Treatment, on the other hand, may help to halt the progression of the disease and alleviate many of the symptoms that come with it. Even after cancer has spread, several forms of cancer may be lived with for many years. Melanoma and colon cancer are two kinds of metastatic cancer that may be treatable.

What is the prognosis for metastatic cancer patients?

The five-year survival rate for metastatic cancer varies according on the kind of disease. The five-year survival rate for metastatic lung cancer, for example, is 7%. This suggests that 7% of persons who have metastatic lung cancer are still alive after five years. Meanwhile, metastatic breast cancer has a five-year survival rate of 28% for women and 22% for males.