Metastatic cancer occurs as a result of having a primary cancer in a certain part of the body that has spread to other tissues and organs. It occurs when cancer cells infiltrate the blood and lymphatic system and thus reach other tissues in which the metastases appear.
Generally, cancer cells that spread beyond the primary tumor cross into the bloodstream. Thus, they can reach every part of the body. Most of these cells die, but some may invade new tissues, which again begin to grow and form new tumors. This process is called metastasis.
In order to form the metastases,the cancer cells need to undergo several stages: to get out of the primary cancer, to enter the blood / lymphatic system whereby they could reach a new organ, to be able to "survive" at the new localization and to be able to defend themselves from the organism’s immune system.
Symptoms of metastatic tumors depend on the size and location of the metastases. Some of the metastatic tumors don’t have symptoms. In some cases the primary cancer is revealed through symptoms whichthe metastatic cancer caused.
Treatment of cancer depends on the origin of the primary cancer. The goal of treatment is to reduce the spreading of cancer. For example, if the primary cancer is localized in the breast and gave metastases in the liver, it is again called metastatic breast cancer (not liver cancer) and is treated according to the manner in which it is necessary to treat breast cancer. The treatment is systemically performed with chemotherapy and hormone therapy. Depending on the situation, the treatment may include biological therapy, radiation therapy, surgery or their combination.
Where do primary carcinomas metastasize most often?
The most common organs where primary tumors may metastasize are the bones, liver and lungs.