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Metastasis

Metastatic cancer; Cancer metastases

 

Metastasis is the movement or spreading of cancer cells from one organ or tissue to another. Cancer cells usually spread through the blood or the lymph system.

If a cancer spreads, it is said to have "metastasized."

Information

 

Whether or not cancer cells spread to other parts of the body depends on many things, including:

  • The type of cancer
  • The stage of the cancer
  • Original location of the cancer

Treatment depends on the type of cancer and where it has spread.

 

 

References

Doroshow JH. Approach to the patient with cancer. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 179.

Rankin EB. Erler J. Giaccia AJ. The cellular microenvironment and metastases. In: Niederhuber JE, Armitage JO, Doroshow JH, Kastan MB, Tepper JE, eds. Abeloff's Clinical Oncology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2016:chap 3.

 
  • Kidney metastases, CT scan

    Kidney metastases, CT scan - illustration

    A CT scan of the middle abdomen showing metastasis (cancer that has spread) in the left kidney in a patient with carcinoma of the lung. Note the large dark circular tumor in the kidney on the right side of the picture.

    Kidney metastases, CT scan

    illustration

  • Liver metastases, CT scan

    Liver metastases, CT scan - illustration

    A CT scan of the upper abdomen showing multiple metastasis (cancer that has spread) in the liver of a patient with carcinoma of the large bowel. Note the dark areas in the liver (left side and center of picture).

    Liver metastases, CT scan

    illustration

  • Lymph node metastases, CT scan

    Lymph node metastases, CT scan - illustration

    A CT scan of the middle abdomen showing a large tumor mass due to metastasis (spreading cancer) in abdominal lymph nodes.

    Lymph node metastases, CT scan

    illustration

  • Spleen metastasis - CT scan

    Spleen metastasis - CT scan - illustration

    This CT scan of the upper abdomen shows multiple tumors in the liver and spleen that have spread (metastasized) from an original intestinal cancer (carcinoma).

    Spleen metastasis - CT scan

    illustration

    • Kidney metastases, CT scan

      Kidney metastases, CT scan - illustration

      A CT scan of the middle abdomen showing metastasis (cancer that has spread) in the left kidney in a patient with carcinoma of the lung. Note the large dark circular tumor in the kidney on the right side of the picture.

      Kidney metastases, CT scan

      illustration

    • Liver metastases, CT scan

      Liver metastases, CT scan - illustration

      A CT scan of the upper abdomen showing multiple metastasis (cancer that has spread) in the liver of a patient with carcinoma of the large bowel. Note the dark areas in the liver (left side and center of picture).

      Liver metastases, CT scan

      illustration

    • Lymph node metastases, CT scan

      Lymph node metastases, CT scan - illustration

      A CT scan of the middle abdomen showing a large tumor mass due to metastasis (spreading cancer) in abdominal lymph nodes.

      Lymph node metastases, CT scan

      illustration

    • Spleen metastasis - CT scan

      Spleen metastasis - CT scan - illustration

      This CT scan of the upper abdomen shows multiple tumors in the liver and spleen that have spread (metastasized) from an original intestinal cancer (carcinoma).

      Spleen metastasis - CT scan

      illustration

    A Closer Look

     

      Tests for Metastasis

       

         

        Review Date: 11/12/2016

        Reviewed By: Jennifer K. Mannheim, ARNP, Medical Staff, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health, Seattle Children's Hospital, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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