Metastatic cancer occurs when cancerous cells spread from a primary cancer site to other parts of the body. Despite spreading to another location within the body, the cancer is considered an extension of the original tumor. For example, lung cancer that spreads to the liver is considered metastatic lung cancer.
Metastatic cancers are difficult to monitor because they often cause symptoms common to other diseases, and it is not uncommon for the new tumors to be discovered while testing for a different condition.
When tumors stop growing and cancer cells break away to metastasize, they travel through the lymphatic vessels, blood vessels or, less commonly, along surfaces on the inside of the body cavity. Where a cancer originates can affect where it will spread. The bones, liver and lungs are the most common locations for tumors to metastasize.
Austin CyberKnife treats certain metastases including those in the bone, brain and lung. For more information on metastatic disease, visit the American Cancer Society’s website.