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


Photo of Claude Perreault Dr Perreault identified new molecules that may help make immunotherapies work for more people.

Read more

Help for smokers trying to quit

Illustration of no smoking symbol

It’s okay to need help to quit smoking. The Canadian Cancer Society is here to support people who are ready to quit and even those people who aren’t ready.

Learn more