In the case of metastatic cancers the tumor did not originate at the given site but has in fact spread from the original or primary site.
WHAT IS METASTATIC CANCER?
Advances in medicine have improved survival rate for most cancers when detected in the early stages. Cancer screening offers even more hope to those in the high-risk zone. And yet we can never fully celebrate because ever so-often, even after successful treatment, the cancer returns – and not necessarily in the same place as before.
TYPES OF CANCER TREATMENT
Once a patient is diagnosed with cancer, the mode of treatment is decided depending on the location of the tumour, the size of the tumour and the rate at which it is growing. The tumour can be removed surgically or through targeted intensified radiotherapy. Chemotherapy and Immunotherapy are also used to treat specific types of cancer. In most cases two or more of these treatment modalities are given in combination to eliminate the tumour at the primary location and to also kill cancer cells that may have spread to other parts of the body through the lymph vessels or the bloodstream.
When cancer cells break off from the primary location and travel through the bloodstream or lymph vessels to form new tumours in other parts of the body, it is called Metastatic Cancer or secondary cancer. It is important to note that in the case of metastatic cancers the tumour did not originate at the given site but has in fact spread from the original or primary site. Once the cancer has metastasised it is harder to treat.
Metastatic cancers can be broadly divided into three types based on their distance from the original tumour site.
No matter where the tumour has spread it is identified by its primary location. This means that if colon cancer has spread to the liver, it is called liver metastasis or secondary liver cancer. And if the tumour in the colon has responded to a certain type of treatment, the liver metastatic liver cancers will respond to the same treatment as well.
Some of the most common cancers that spread are:
Metastatic cancer symptoms depend on where the cancer has spread. If it has spread to the brain, it might cause severe headaches or vision disturbances. If it has spread to the lungs, it could cause jaundice, fatigue, swelling of the legs or loss of appetite.
If the secondary cancer shows up several years after the original diagnosis, the chance for successful treatment is higher, than if it shows up within a few months after treating the primary tumour. In any case, early detection is vital. Going for regular follow-ups even after the cancer has been eliminated, is key to finding metastatic cancers before the spread of cancer goes out of hand.
SENIOR CONSULTANT – RADIATION ONCOLOGY
MBBS, MD R.T,