Canadian Cancer Society logo

Colorectal cancer

You are here: 

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

Dr Claude Perreault Harnessing the immune system to fight cancer

Read more

How can you stop cancer before it starts?

It's My Life! icon

Discover how your lifestyle choices can affect cancer risk and how you can take action with our interactive tool – It’s My Life!

Learn more