About metastatic cancer
Cancer is a life-threatening ailment caused by the excessive production and buildup of abnormal or malignant cells in a particular organ of the body which replaces all the healthy and living tissues, eventually leading to organ failure and death. The organ where cancer originates is known as the primary site of cancer. Some cancer cells known as circulating tumour cells have a tendency to spread to other organs via the various blood channels. This procedure is known as metastasis and is responsible for metastatic cancer or s secondary cancer. As per the best cancer specialist doctors in Delhi, the problem is very serious and usually occurs when cancer remains undetected or untreated for a long time. Metastasis is likely to occur in the lungs, liver, brain and bones.
Various routes through which metastatic cancer can spread:
With the help of the doctors hailing from the best oncology hospital in Delhi, we have enlisted the four main routes through which metastasis can take place.
- Transcoelomic spread – it refers to the spread of malignant cells from the primary site to the secondary site via peritoneal, pleural, pericardial or subarachnoid penetration.
- Lymphatic spread – it involves the spread of malignant cells to regional lymph nodes near the primary site, from where it is sent to various other organs. The regional lymph nodes are popularly known as positive nodes. Lymphatic spread is the compost common route of early metastasis for carcinomas.
- Hematogenous spread – although hematogenous spread mostly occurs in case of sarcomas, it can also be responsible for the metastasis of certain carcinomas. This refers to the spread of the cancerous cells via the veins and majorly depends upon the position of primary cancer.
- Canalicular spread – this refers to the metastasis of malignant cells along with the anatomical canalicular spaces. This is somewhat same to transcoelomic spread.
Cancer type and main sites of metastasis:
- Breast – bones, brain, liver and lungs
- , – bones, liver and lungs
- Colon – peritoneum, liver and lungs
- Kidney – bones, liver, lungs and adrenal gland
- Lungs – bones, brain, liver, other lung and adrenal gland
- Ovaries – peritoneum, liver and lungs
- Rectal – peritoneum, liver and lungs
- Uterus – peritoneum, liver, vagina, bones and lungs
- Thyroid – bones, liver and lungs
- Pancreas – peritoneum, liver and lungs
- Stomach – peritoneum, liver and lungs.
The major symptoms of metastatic cancer are as under:
- chronic bone and joint pain and fractures (in case of metastatic bone cancer)
- light-headedness, dizziness, poor memory and seizures (in case of metastatic brain cancer)
- Breathlessness and chest pain (in the case of metastatic lung cancer)
- Jaundice, abdominal pain and bloating, nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite (in case of metastatic liver cancer)
Treatment for metastatic cancer
Treatment for metastatic cancer majorly aims at slowing down or completely stopping the spread of cancer cells as well as helps to relive the various associated symptoms. The treatment can help to improve the quality of the patient’s life as well as add some more years to it. Not all metastatic cancers can be cured however research and studies are going on in the field to device out better and more effective methods of treatment.
The treatment to be undertaken mainly depends upon the type of primary cancer, it’s location, the route through which metastasis has taken place, medical history of the patient as well as his age.
In case the treatment is not possible, the doctors will focus on end of life care. However, continuing with the treatment can help to relieve some of the symptoms.