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."

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.

Kidney metastases - CT scan

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.

Liver metastases, CT scan

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).

Lymph node metastases, CT scan

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

Spleen metastasis - CT scan

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).

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