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

Stories

Lusomé Founder and CEO Lara Smith Seeing my sister Erin – a young mother – struggle with the emotional blow and then the physical toll of cancer treatment made me want to do something to help women feel confident.

Read Lara's story

Volunteers provide comfort and kindness

Illustration of volunteers

Thousands of Canadian Cancer Society volunteers work in regional cancer centres, lodges and community hospitals to support people receiving treatment.

Learn more