Understanding Anal Cancer: How Anal Cancer Spreads

There are 3 main ways that cancer spreads in your body. It can spread through:

  • Tissue. Cancer invades nearby normal tissue.
  • Lymph system. Cancer invades your lymph system and travels through your lymph vessels to other parts of your body.
  • Blood. Cancer invades your veins and capillaries and travels through your bloodstream to other parts of your body.

The original tumor is called the primary tumor. When cancer cells break away from it and travel to other places in your body, a secondary tumor can form. The name for this spreading process is metastasis.

The secondary tumor is the same kind of cancer as the primary tumor. For instance, if the cancer cells in the anus travel to your liver, it is called metastatic anal cancer. It is not liver cancer.

Next: I’ve received my diagnosis. What do I do now? What questions do I need to ask my doctor?

Back to “Understanding Anal Cancer: An Introduction”