Metastasis means the spread of cancer.
Common sites for metastatic tumors include bones, lungs, lymph nodes, liver and brain.
Signs and Symptoms
Many people with metastatic cancer do not experience new symptoms; rather, their metastases are found through tests performed for other reasons.
When signs do appear, they depend on the size and location of the metastasis. Cancer that has spread to the bones may cause pain and lead to fractures. Brain metastases may cause headaches, seizures or loss of balance. Signs of lung metastases may include difficulty in breathing, while abdominal swelling or jaundice indicates cancer that has spread to the liver.
How is it diagnosed?
Metastases are often found through tests performed for other reasons, such as x-rays or other imaging tests.
How is it treated?
As with other types of cancer, the treatment depends on the type, size and location of the cancer. It may be treated with one or a combination of the following:
- Radiation therapy, including Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS)
- Biological therapy
- Hormone therapy
Where can I get more information?
You should be sure to ask your doctors for their assessment and recommendations for your particular disease. For more information online, we recommend the following website:
National Cancer Institute