What does it mean when someone says they have metastasized colon cancer?
Metastasis means that the cancer has spread from the colon to other parts of the body such as the lymph nodes or liver.
For example, if someone has colon cancer and it has metastasized, this means that the cancer has spread from the colon to nearby tissue or organs.
Cancer cells can break away from the original tumor and travel through the bloodstream to other parts of the body.
When cancer cells spread and form a new tumor in a different location, it is called a metastatic tumor. The cells of the metastatic tumor come from the original tumor.
If say, colon cancer spreads to the liver, the metastatic tumor in the liver is made up of colon cancer cells and not liver cells.
It is then called metastatic colon cancer and not liver cancer. When these cells are examined with a microscope they usually look the same as the cells in the colon.
Many do not experience any symptoms when their cancer has metastasized, but when they occur they can be:
If the cancer has spread, you will experience different symptoms depending on where the cancer has metastasized and how big it is.
The mortality rate for metastasized cancer is high, once the cancer has spread, statistics say that the chances of a cure are low, but new treatments are constantly under study.
The National Cancer Institute sponsors clinical trials with cancer patients in many hospitals, universities, medical schools and cancer centers.
The colon cancer treatments used in dealing with metastasized colon cancer are usually chemotherapy, radiation therapy, biological therapy and surgery. The choice of treatment will depend on the location and size of the metastasis, and the patients age and general health.