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Metastatic Cancer

Metastatic Cancer Causes

The process of a cancer becoming metastatic involves a complex series of steps wherein the tumor migrates from the original site to other parts of the body via the lymphatic system or the blood stream. Cancerous cells first separate from the primary tumor, and then attach to and degrade the proteins in the surrounding extracellular matrix, which then breaks the tumor from the adjoining tissue. By degrading these proteins, the malignant cells are able to escape the extracellular matrix and spread elsewhere.

Metastatic Cancer Definition

Metastatic cancer is a term used in reference to cancer that has spread from its origin to other organs or parts of the body. Only malignant or cancerous cells have the capacity to metastasize.

Metastatic Cancer Diagnosis

Because cells in metastatic tumor resemble those in the primary tumor, a microscope analysis of a sample from the cancerous tissue will usually determine where the tumor was originally located. Other diagnostic tests involved in assessing metastatic cancer are imaging studies such as CT scans and MRI scans.

Metastatic Cancer Symptoms and Signs

The most common sign of metastatic cancer is malignant cells spreading to lymph nodes and other sites of the body. Accompanying symptoms usually vary according to the type of cancer involved and severity of the condition.

Metastatic Cancer Treatment

The treatment for metastatic cancer varies according to the type of carcinoma, the original tumor site, and the severity of the disease. Generally, metastatic cancer involves medications to alleviate symptoms, surgical removal of the tumor (if possible), radiation therapy, and chemotherapy, among others.

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