Tumors can be divided into two main groups: primary and metastatic. These groups describe the location of the cancer and whether it has spread.
WHAT IS PRIMARY CANCER?
Primary refers to the original part of the body where cancer first develops. The most common sites where cancer begins are in the skin, lungs, female breasts, uterus, prostate, colon and rectum. The primary site can influence how the tumor may behave, how easily it may spread, and where in the body it might spread. In some cases, doctors find a tumor and are unable to determine the primary cancer site.
WHAT IS METASTATIC CANCER?
When a tumor spreads from the primary site to other areas of the body it is referred to as metastatic cancer. These metastatic sites, or metastases, can occur when primary cancer cells
grow into and invade surrounding tissue, or when cancer cells travel through the blood stream or lymphatic system to another organ and begin growing there. The most common sites of metastasis are bone, liver and lungs.
Cancer is always identified in terms of where it first develops. For example, colon cancer that has spread to the lungs is still considered colon cancer. This is because the cancer cells found in the lungs originated in the colon and would resemble colon cancer cells.
HOW STAGES OF CANCER ARE DETERMINED
Cancer staging describes the progression of a tumor based on changes in tumor size, if it has spread, and where it has spread. For many types of cancer, Stage 4 is used to categorize when the primary cancer has metastasized to another area of the body.
HOW CARIS HELPS ONCOLOGISTS BETTER UNDERSTAND CANCER
Caris molecular testing
analyzes the DNA, RNA and proteins from the cells that make up your cancer to give your doctor detailed information about the specific type of cancer you have. Whether you are dealing with primary cancer or cancer that has metastasized, Caris wants to help you and your doctor by providing the best understanding of your cancer
in order to find the best way to treat it.