Cancer Metastasis

  • Cancer tends to spread by two mechanisms: infiltration, in which the tumor pushes against and enters contiguous tissue; and metastasis, when cancer cells enter lymphatic channels and/or small blood vessels and eventually travel to distant locations and organs in the body.
  • Certain tumors have a predilection for specific sites. Colon cancer frequently spreads to the liver, and breast cancer to the brain and spine.
  • When there is lymphatic spread, the local and regional lymph nodes are the first line of defense; when the nodes fill up with dividing tumor cells, the cells then break free and travel toward the heart for distribution throughout the body.

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