All About Cancer Metastasis
Cancer is said to have metastasized if its cells have spread from the primary site to the other parts of the body. Metastasis happens either through the lymph system or via the bloodstream. A secondary tumor is formed at the site where the cancer cells have spread. If the cells have metastasized to a distant part of the body, it is called distant metastasis. On the other hand, regional metastasis spreads the cancer cells to the area near the primary site. In the body, the commonest sites of cancer metastasis are the liver, lungs, lymph nodes, and bone. It is vital to note that even after the metastatic, cancer is stilled named after the primary site. For instance, if breast cancer spreads to the liver, it is called breast cancer.
The symptoms of the cancer metastasis vary from one person to another. Some will have severe symptoms while will show no symptoms at all. It is also necessary to note that symptoms will also depend on where the secondary tumor is situated. For instance, you will have headaches, dizziness, visual issues, speech problems, and confusion if cancer has metastasized to the brain. Metastasizes to lungs may be characterized by coughing of blood, chest pain, shortness of breath, productive and nonproductive cough, among other symptoms. Loss of appetite, nausea, weight loss, pain, and normal fluid are symptoms of cancer metastasizes to the liver.
Cancer can be diagnosed using various tests. Tests depend on the suspected site where cancer may have spread. A blood test will reveal some abnormality if you have this condition. Diagnosis can also be made using the tumor markers. For example, colon cancer uses the carcinoembryonic antigen, testes cancer uses alpha-fetoprotein, while prostate cancer uses a marketer called prostate-specific antigen. Some markers are not very specific, and therefore, they cannot solely rely on the diagnosis. Imaging may also be used to determine whether the cancer cells have spread. These include ultrasound, CT scan, bone scan, MRI, and position emission tomography.
The treatment of metastasized cancer is treated depending on where the cancer originated. If it is prostate cancer that spreads to the liver, the drugs used are used to treat prostate cancer. Even if the cells spread, they are still the original cancer cells living in a new area. The treatment depends on where the cancer is. It can either be radiotherapy, surgery, gamma knife surgery, chemotherapy, steroids, and radiofrequency ablation. You should note that an organ transplant is usually recommended if the cancer cells have spread around the body.
Research is ongoing to try to find a medication that can effectively treat cancer metastasizes. Metastatic suppressors are drug medications that will reduce the spread of cancer without interfering with the primary tumor. Anti-angiogenesis therapy combined with chemo or radiotherapy is considered one of the most effective treatments for cancer metastasizes. It is a challenge to develop anti-metastasis drugs. Still, some companies are investing a lot of effort, time, and resources toward it. Cellmig is an example of a biopharmaceutical company that is developing next-generation drugs that will specifically eliminate cancer, increase the quality of life, inhibit cell dissemination, and also make people living with cancer to live longer.