- Actress Sonali Bendre has been diagnosed with metastatic cancer
- It is a serious form of cancer which can spread to other organs
- Treatment of metastatic cancer includes chemo, radiation and surgery
Yesterday, the Bollywood industry was shaken with the very saddening news of actress Sonali Bendre Behl being diagnosed with metastatic cancer. She took to Instagram and Twitter to share a long post, telling people how unexpected the onset of the disease was in her life. Here is what she wrote, "Sometimes, when you least expect it, life throws you a curveball. I have recently been diagnosed with a high grade cancer that has metastised, which we frankly did not see coming. A niggling pain led to some tests, which led to this unexpected diagnosis. My family and close friends have rallied around me, providing the best support system that anyone can ask for. I am very blessed and thankful for each of them. There is no better way to tackle this, than to take swift and immediate action. And so, as advised by my doctors, I am currently undergoing a course of treatment in New York. We remain optimistic and I am determined to fight every step of the way. What has helped has been the immense outpouring of love and support I've received over the past few days, for which I am very grateful. I'm taking this battle head on, knowing I have the strength of my family and friends behind me."
Metastatic cancer can be a serious form of cancer since it can easily spread from one part of the body to the other. Metastasis is the medical term for cancer which spreads to different parts of the body from where it started. The process of cancer spreading from one part of the body to other is known to be a cancer which has metastasized. Metastasis is also known as metastatic cancer and stage 4 cancer. At times, metastatic cancer is also referred to as advanced cancer, but this does not stand true in all situations. A locally advanced cancer is not the same as metastatic cancer, it is the cancer which has spread to nearby tissues or lymph nodes but not in other parts of the body.
Is metastatic cancer the same kind of cancer as it was before?
Doctors give metastasis the same name as original cancer. For instance, a breast cancer which spreads to the liver is referred to as metastatic breast cancer and not liver cancer. This is because the cancer begun in breast cancer cells. However, even though tumors in each of the different locations represent breast cancer, doctors are still trying to find out how metastatic cancer differs from original cancer at the molecular or genetic level.
How metastases (plural of metastasis) develop
Metastases commonly develop when cancer cells break away from the main tumor and enter the bloodstream of lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is responsible for carrying fluids around the body. This infers that the cancer cells can travel from the original tumor to form new tumors when they settle. They then develop and grow in a different part of the body. Sometimes, metastases develop when cancer cells from the main tumor, which are typically in the abdominal (belly) cavity, break off and directly seed to other areas within the abdominal cavity.
Any kind of cancer can metastasize, depending on several factors like the kind of cancer, at which pace it is growing and how long has it been before treatment, etc.
Diagnosis of metastatic cancer
People who have already got a treatment for metastatic cancer should get up follow-up check-ups regularly. Examinations and tests need to be done regularly in order to look for evidence of metastases. Some individuals have been found to have metastases at the time of diagnosis of their original cancer.
Metastatic cancer may or may not cause symptoms. Like in Sonali Bendre's case, metastatic cancer symptoms began with a "niggling pain". At times, cancer symptoms may also cause shortness of breath. Such symptoms signal diagnosis of cancer or presence of metastases.
Treatment of metastatic cancer
Treatment of metastatic cancer depends on where the cancer originally start, how much it has spread and where it is currently located. A person's age and health also determine the treatment of metastatic cancer.
In most cases, a chemotherapy is done for treatment of metastatic cancer. But in case it fails, a combination of treatments including radiation, chemotherapy or even a surgery may be done to remover metastases.
The main treatment for metastatic cancer includes systemic therapy and local therapy. The systemic therapy includes chemotherapy along with other medications such as hormone therapy, targeted therapy and biological treatment.
Treatment for area of the cancer is referred to as local therapy, as part of which radiation therapy and surgery is done.
Where does metastatic cancer develop?
Metastatic cancer usually develops in the brain, lungs, lymph nodes, liver and bones. Cancer cells can metastasize in the abdominal cavity. This may lead to buildup of excess fluid in these areas. At times, cancer can also spread to the skin, muscles or other organs throughout the body. For instance, breast cancer can spread to bones, lungs, liver, brain and chest wall. Prostate cancer can spread to the bones, lung cancer can spread to the adrenal glands, liver or bones and colon or rectal cancers can spread to liver or lungs.
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.