Metastatic Cancer: How Does Cancer Spread?

The spread of cancer is often unpredictable. Though doctors may not be able to explain why or when cancer may spread, there are some indications that explain how cancer can spread.

Most cancer cells travel through the blood or lymph nodes and once settled can reproduce, but where a cancer starts can play a role in where it will spread. The most common sites cancer can spread are the liver, lungs and brain.

When cancer cells spread from the primary tumor site and travel, the surviving cells are able to grow new tumors because of genetic changes that scientists are still working to understand and learn to predict and control.

When faced with metastatic cancer, one of the most important considerations is where the spread has occurred and the stage of spread. Take time to ask your doctor questions to equip you with the best information to determine your treatment plan. For more information on how metastatic cancer can be treated nonsurgically, contact our center or read our blog series on metastatic cancer.

This is not intended as medical advice to replace the expertise and judgment of your health care team. It is intended to help you and your family make informed decisions, together with your doctor.