Metastatic Cancer Symptoms

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When the cancer cells spreads beyond its original site (into the distant organs or body structures) it is called as metastatic cancer. Virtually all types of cancers possess the same potential to get spread in this manner. Some types of cancers can be diagnosed at early stages, since they show the indications of their presence at this stage only, while others can be difficult to detect initially. Most cancers show their symptoms and signs at the metastatic (advanced) stage. Metastatic cancer symptoms are chronic and severe.

The development of the metastases depends on the intricate interface of the several tumor cell features involving the location, type of cancer, differentiation of the cancer cells (their degree of development), and time duration of their presence as well as other undefined and unclear factors. Metastatic cancer symptoms can be diagnosed by using various methods such as CT scan, biopsy, X-rays, MRI etc.

What are factors on which treatment of metastatic cancer depends?

Location of the cancer plays a significant role in deciding the metastatic cancer treatment. For example, if breast cancer transfers into the lungs, it will be considered as breast cancer and not the lung cancer. The treatment will be determined by considering the origin of the tumor within the breast and not by considering the fact that it has spread into the lungs. Around 5 percent of the time, presence of metastases is detected but the original tumor cannot be found. In all it can be said that metastases are treated by their location and not from their origin.

Although metastatic cancer usually indicates poor prognosis, there some type of metastatic cancers that can be cured by using standard metastatic cancer therapy and they are as follows;

  • Cancer cells that has spread into the lymph nodes
  • Cancer cells that has been spread into other sites

Which cancers develop metastases?

Virtually all forms of cancer can extend to metastases.

How cancer cells are spread?

Metastasis cancer spreads into three ways:

  • By local spreading (when the tumor spreads into the adjoining tissues).
  • Via lymphatic system into the adjoining or distant lymph nodes.
  • Through the bloodstream at distant organs or distant lymph nodes.

Each type of cancer may possess a characteristic route of spread.

Metastatic cancer causes

The characteristics of each tumor varies and the factors that develops metastasis at a particular site in not known. Most common symptoms and early signs of metastatic cancer

Several patients show minimal or no cancer signs and their metastases are detected during a routine medical checkup. Metastases cancer symptoms usually depends on the site involved. The cancer is named by the primary site of any metastatic cancer (e.g.: gastric cancer that has spread into the bones is called as metastatic gastric cancer to the bone).

Many cancers do not show any symptoms until advanced stage, although these indicate the usual ones.

Metastatic cancer symptoms for different organs:


Any type of cancer may get spread into the brain, although the most common cancers that readily do so are breast and lung cancer.

Common symptoms of metastatic brain cancer are:

  • Dizziness
  • Chronic headache
  • Blurred vision
  • Other complications associated with to the nervous-system

Symptoms of metastatic lung cancer involve:

  • Chest pain
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain in the back and chest
  • Cough which produces bloody sputum

Bone cancer

The most common types of cancers that usually spread into the bones are lung, prostate and breast cancer.

Symptoms of metastatic bone cancer involve:

  • Chronic pain in the bones
  • Bone breakage or fracture due to minor or without injury

Liver cancer

Liver cancer usually metastasizes into the colon or other cancers related to the gastrointestinal system.

Metastatic cancer symptoms involve:

  • Severe fever
  • Abdominal pain
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Feeling of nausea and vomiting
  • Jaundice- Yellowing of skin
  • Ascites - accumulation of fluid in the abdomen
  • Edema - swelling and tenderness in legs

All types of metastatic cancer symptoms resemble each other at some or other level with each other. Regular medical checkup helps to diagnose any abnormal signs that indicates the presence of cancer and thus helps to prevent its metastases.

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