What are metastatic lesions?

Metastatic lesions are malignant or cancerous tumors that have spread from their original location to other parts of the body. Related medical terms that may be used interchangeably include late-stage cancer, advanced cancer, or metastatic disease. Metastatic lesions are generally considered incurable, although treatment is often available to control the spread of cancer cells and potentially increase the individual's life expectancy.

Medically speaking, an injury can refer to any abnormal change in a body tissue or organ as a result of injury or disease. In cancer terminology, lesion is another term for tumor. Metastasis is the term for the spread of cancer beyond its site of origin in the body. Therefore, metastatic lesions are cancerous tumors that are in separate locations from the original starting point of the primary tumor. Metastatic tumors occur when cells from the primary tumor break off and travel to distant parts of the body through the lymphatic system. Alternatively, cells from the original tumor could seed new tumors in adjacent organs or tissues.

Metastatic disease is sometimes called late-stage cancer. This term refers to the medical classification of cancer as stage III, when cancer cells are found in lymph nodes near the original tumor, or stage IV, when cancer cells have traveled far beyond the site of the primary tumor to distant parts of the body. . Metastatic lesions are most often found in the brain, lungs, liver, or bone. A person with metastatic cancer may or may not experience symptoms, and the symptoms may be related to the area where the metastasized cells have relocated. For example, a person whose cancer has spread to the brain might experience neurological symptoms such as seizures or headaches.

Once metastatic lesions are present in the body, the individual's cancer will be considered incurable. This means that it is no longer possible to target all existing cancer cells with available treatments. In this case, the goal of treatment is to slow the growth of the tumors in order to maintain the best possible quality of life and potentially extend the individual's life expectancy. In some cases, people with metastatic lesions can live for several years with proper treatment to manage symptoms.

There are a variety of treatments available for advanced cancer. Some potential options include surgical or cryosurgical removal of cancerous lesions, radiation therapy, biological therapy, also known as immunotherapy, to boost the immune system's response, chemotherapy, and hormonal therapy. Clinical trials, in which the individual participates in experimental new treatments for specific types of cancer, are available in some areas. People may also choose to use complementary or integrative therapies in addition to medical treatment.

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