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Metastatic colorectal cancer occurs when cancer cells travel from the large intestine, through either the bloodstream or the lymph system, to other parts of the body and continue to grow in their new location. Recurrent colorectal cancer is cancer that has come back after treatment.
Metastatic colorectal cancer can be present at the initial diagnosis or may occur months to years after treatment for colorectal cancer. Metastasis can affect areas near the colon, such as lymph nodes, or organs in other parts of the body, such as the liver or lungs.
Treatment of metastatic or recurrent colorectal cancer depends on how far the cancer has spread, the symptoms, and the area of the body that is involved. It may include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.
Last Revised: September 5, 2012
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Kenneth Bark, MD - Surgery, Colon and Rectal
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