How do cancer cells travel through the body?

1 Answer
Jun 30, 2018

Cancer cells spread to new areas of the body by way of the lymph system or blood stream and this process is called as metastasis.


Metastases develop when cancer cells break away from the main tumor and enter the bloodstream or lymphatic system. Since these systems carry fluids around the body, the cancer cells can travel far from the original tumor and form new tumors when they settle and grow in a different part of the body.

In the case of cancers in the abdominal cavity, at times metastases develop when cancer cells from the main tumor break off and directly seed other areas within the abdominal cavity.

Metastases to the bones, brain, liver, lymph nodes, and lungs is common. They may also metastise to the pleural space or abdominal cavity but this is fairly rare.

Factors affecting metastasis could depend on the type of cancer, rate of growth of the cancer or how much the cancer has developed before treatment.