Metastases (overview)

In cancer, individual cells can dislodge from the original tumour and move to other parts of the body, where they continue to grow.

Overview

In cancer, individual cells can dislodge from the original tumour and move to other parts of the body, where they continue to grow. Such masses of cancer cells are called metastases. Possible therapies include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and sclerotherapy.

Symptoms

Main symptoms

  • Local metastases: These grow in the same organ as the original tumour or in its immediate vicinity
  • Regional metastases: These develop in the lymph nodes located closest to the tumour
  • Distant metastases: Tumour cells are transported through the blood or lymphatic system or by seeding in the abdominal cavity to areas far distant from the original tumour

Common locations of metastases

Causes and treatment

Causes

  • Malignant tumours

A tumour is malignant if it can form metastases. In this way it can spread and grow further in the body. Tumour cells are often mutations and lose their original function. They displace healthy tissue and can interfere with the functions of surrounding cells, which causes the symptoms of cancer.

Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital

Possible tests
  • Ultrasound
  • X-ray
  • CT scan (computed tomography)
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
  • PET (positron emission tomography)
  • Scintigraphy (detection by way of a radioactive tracer)
Possible therapies
  • Operation
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Destruction of the tumour with heat or cold

Once metastases have been identified, it is often impossible to completely cure the cancer. The principal purpose of therapy is then to relieve the symptoms and reduce the tumour as much as possible.

Synonyms

Metastases (overview), cancer, cells , Filia, Filiae, Tumour

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CSS offers no guarantee for the accuracy and completeness of the information. The information published is no substitute for professional advice from a doctor or pharmacist.

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