What Is the Most Common Site of Metastasis?

Reviewed on 4/8/2021

Cancer can spread to almost any part of the body, although different cancers are likely to metastasize to certain areas than others.
Cancer can spread to almost any part of the body, although different cancers are likely to metastasize to certain areas than others.

Cancer can spread to almost any part of the body, although different cancers are likely to metastasize to certain areas than others. The most common site of metastasis for different primary cancer is tabulated below:

Cancer Type

Main Sites of Metastasis

Bladder

Bone, liver, lung

Breast

Bone, brain, liver, lung

Colon

Liver, lung, peritoneum

Kidney

Adrenal gland, bone, brain, liver, lung

Lung

Adrenal gland, bone, brain, liver, another lung

Melanoma

Bone, brain, liver, lung, skin, muscle

Ovary

Liver, lung, peritoneum

Pancreas

Liver, lung, peritoneum

Prostate

Adrenal gland, bone, liver, lung

Rectal

Liver, lung, peritoneum

Stomach

Liver, lung, peritoneum

Thyroid

Bone, liver, lung

Uterus

Bone, liver, lung, peritoneum, vagina

What is metastatic cancer?

Cancer that spreads from a primary site to a distant part of the body is known as metastatic cancer. For many types of cancer, it is also called stage IV cancer. When seen under the microscope, metastatic cancer cells have features similar to that of the primary cancer cells and not like the cells where the metastatic cancer is spread.

What is metastasis?

The process of cancer spreading to other parts of the body is called metastasis. Metastasis causes about 90% of death in people with cancer.

Metastasis can occur in three ways:

What are the symptoms of metastatic cancer?

Some people will have no or minimal symptoms of metastatic cancer. The symptoms depend on the location of metastasis. Tumor metastasized to brain exhibits the following symptoms:

Symptoms of bone metastasis include:

Symptoms of liver metastasis include:

Symptoms of gastrointestinal tract metastasis include:

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How is metastatic cancer treated?

Metastatic cancer is primarily treated based on the original site of cancer. For example, if a person has lung cancer and cancer spreads to the liver, it is still treated with the same drugs used for lung cancer. In terminal conditions, making a person comfortable and easing the severity of pain (palliation) may be an option.

Brain metastasis

The treatment options include:

Bone metastasis

The treatment options include:

  • Drug therapy for bone metastasis that is not causing bone pain or danger of breaking
  • Radiation therapy for fragile bone

Lung metastasis

The treatment options include:

  1. Thoracentesis (a procedure to remove the fluid to make breathing easier)
  2. Drug therapy

Liver metastasis

The treatment options include:

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References
https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/279960-clinical#b3

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/17224-metastatic-cancer

https://www.cancer.gov/types/metastatic-cancer

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