METASTASIS Syllabus GS Paper 3 – Sci and Tech)

News-CRUX-10     27th February 2024        

Context: Recently, doctors at Tata Memorial Centre unveiled a breakthrough mechanism for cancer metastasis and pioneered a nutraceutical therapy to mitigate its risk.


  • Definition: Metastasis denotes the spread of cancer to a different part of the body from where it originated, indicating the cancer has "metastasized."
  • Development of Metastases: It occur when cancer cells detach from the primary tumor and travel through the bloodstream or lymphatic system to form new tumors elsewhere in the body.
  • Factors: The likelihood of cancer spreading depends on the cancer type, growth rate, and other behavioral factors identified by the doctor.
  • Sites Where Cancer Spreads: Cancer can metastasize to nearly any part of the body, with certain cancers exhibiting preferences for specific organs or tissues.

oExamples include breast cancer spreading to bones, liver, lungs, chest wall, and brain.

  • Variety of Targets: Lung cancer may spread to the brain, bones, liver, and adrenal glands, while prostate cancer commonly metastasizes to bones.

Understanding Metastatic Cancer

  • Consistency of Cancer Type: Metastatic cancer retains the same name as the primary cancer, such as metastatic breast cancer originating from breast cancer cells.
  • Diagnosis: Metastases may be identified during initial cancer diagnosis or later during follow-up checks for signs of recurrence and metastasis.
  • Symptoms: It depending on the affected area, ranging from pain and fractures in bone metastasis to headaches and seizures in brain metastasis.
  • Tailored Treatment: Treatment for metastasis considers factors like the original cancer type, extent of spread, patient's health, and treatment preferences.

oTreatment modalities may include chemotherapy, immunotherapy, targeted therapy, surgery, and radiation therapy.

  • Management of Metastatic Cancer:

oWhile some cases of metastatic cancer can be cured, for most, treatment aims to slow disease progression and alleviate symptoms.

oThe effectiveness of treatment varies based on cancer type, extent of spread, and response to therapy.

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