Saturday, June 23, 2018

Cancer Metastasis Research Tells Us A Lot About How Cancerous Cells Work

By Timothy Stevens

Cancer is a scary diagnosis. When patients hear the bad news that the disease is spreading, or metastasizing, most understand their time may be limited. Researchers know a lot about what cancerous cells can do, and they are learning more every day. Cancer metastasis research has a long way to go though. Discovering how to contain the cells and destroy them before they can move is still in the future.

Metastasizing is what you don't want cancerous cells to do. This phenomenon is one of the things that makes the disease so serious. Affected cells can move anywhere on a person's body. They may not attack a neighboring organ as you would suppose. Cells use blood and lymph nodes to travel to far parts of the body. When they do this, cancers are considered stage four. When cancers move to other organs, they aren't renamed. They retain the name of the primary cancers.

There are different ways for cancerous cells to spread. They can attach onto or attack healthy tissue located nearby. Cells use the bloodstream to travel to various parts of one's body. They can choose to stop in blood vessels and invade the walls. Tumors can develop once they do this because the cells have the ability to create new blood vessels, which in turn creates a source of blood that feeds the new tumor.

Cells can go anywhere, but there are certain organs that seem to attract specific cancerous cells. The lungs, liver, and bones are the most likely to be affected when cancers metastasize. The brain, liver, and lungs are the organs breast cancers usually move to. The adrenal glands can be infected by kidney cancers. Melanoma usually travels to the skin, brain, bones, lungs, muscles, and liver.

There are certain signs and symptoms that indicate cancerous cells have metastasized. If you suddenly have shortness of breath, the cells may have traveled to a person's lungs. Fractures indicate the disease has infected the bones. When the cells spread to the brain, people can experience dizziness, seizures, and headaches.

When diseased cells start traveling, it is hard to control them. Treatment will vary according to the primary cancer, the treatments a patient has already had, and the physical health of a patient. Doctors try to contain the cells and slow their growth. Relieving the symptoms is a primary concern. If the treatments are successful, the patient's life can be prolonged.

Treatments are not always successful, and sometimes the cells can not be controlled. People who get this diagnosis have a number of options. They can opt for a continuation of the treatment hoping tumors can be contained or shrink. Many patients choose palliative care to relieve side effects and symptoms and improve the quality of their lives.

This is the time to make end of life decisions, if that has not already been done. A diagnosis of metastasized cancer is hard to hear. It is one great reason everyone should live their lives as though each day is the last.

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