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Metastasis

  • Definition
    • 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."

  • Alternative Names
    • Metastatic cancer; Cancer metastases

  • 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
    • Perry MC. Approach to the patient with cancer. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 182.