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Julie Wilkinson, BSN, RN

The Science Behind Metastasis

By January 21, 2013

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MRI machine

Image Melissa Connors/Dreamtime

Science has placed yet another piece of the cancer puzzle - discovering which cells herald the spreading (metastasis) of colon cancer. According to a recent study published in Cancer Cell, scientists have found a definitive link between stromal cell activity and metastasis of colon cancer to other organs (lungs, brain, liver) within the body.

So why is this exciting news you might ask? If your doctor discovers increased stromal activity surrounding the colon cancer cells, there is an increased chance that your cancer is gearing up to spread. This sheds a whole new light on the risk of recurrence and may even alter how your doctor intends to treat your cancer.

When colon cancer goes into remission - or is effectively "cured" many survivors agree on one remaining stressor - is my cancer going to come back? Watching every symptom and waiting on tenterhooks for recurrence is stressful to say the least. Let's hope that this discovery can put many survivors minds at rest in the near future.

Perhaps as scientists continue to explore the stromal cell phenomenon we will unlock even more of the sad mystery that is cancer.

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