When cancer cells develop in the lungs and spread to other regions, it is called metastatic lung cancer. A study has shown that metastatic lung cancer occurs when the cancer cells separate themselves from the tumour and travel through the lymphatic system or the blood to reach other organs of the body.
However, the term metastatic lung cancer can also be used to describe the spread of cancer cells from other parts of the body to the lungs. Such cancer mainly includes breast, colorectal cancer, uterine leiomyosarcoma, squamous cell carcinomas etc.
The mechanism of spread is described as the detachment of cancer cells from the primary site to invade capillaries or the lymphatic system. Then the cancer cells reach a new location and invade, establishing a new microenvironment that can supply nourishment and blood for their survival.
The immune system recognizes and destroys foreign and toxic cells. However, this is not the case with cancer cells. The cancer cells damage DNA and multiply rapidly escaping the normal control mechanism. The damaged DNA also gets multiplied with the cells producing abnormal copies of toxic cells that grow profusely to invade the whole tissue. The toxic changes, also called mutations, can run in families. Environmental causes that are known to predispose lung cancer, such as nitric oxide, are also found to promote metastasis.
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