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Colorectal cancer

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If colorectal cancer spreads

Cancer cells can spread from the colon or rectum to other parts of the body and develop into a new tumour. The new tumour is called a metastasis, or secondary tumour. If more than one tumour develops in another part of the body, they are called metastases.

Understanding how a type of cancer usually grows and spreads helps your healthcare team plan your treatment and future care. If colorectal cancer spreads, it can spread to the following:

  • nearby lymph nodes (the most common place where colorectal cancer spreads)
  • nearby tissues in the abdomen or pelvis
  • liver
  • lung
  • peritoneum (the membrane that lines the walls of the abdomen and pelvis, and covers and supports most of the organs in the abdomen)
  • distant lymph nodes
  • vagina
  • ovaries
  • bladder
  • bone
  • brain


Dr Barbara Triggs Raine Gaining insights into cancer control from rodents

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A home away from home

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For cancer patients who must travel a great distance to get to treatment, Canadian Cancer Society lodges offer a welcoming place to stay.

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