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Small Intestine Cancer Treatment (Patient) (cont.)

Stages of Small Intestine Cancer

Tests and procedures to stage small intestine cancer are usually done at the same time as diagnosis.

Staging is used to find out how far the cancer has spread, but treatment decisions are not based on stage. See the General Information section for a description of tests and procedures used to detect, diagnose, and stage small intestine cancer.

There are three ways that cancer spreads in the body.

The three ways that cancer spreads in the body are:

  • Through tissue. Cancer invades the surrounding normal tissue.
  • Through the lymph system. Cancer invades the lymph system and travels through the lymph vessels to other places in the body.
  • Through the blood. Cancer invades the veins and capillaries and travels through the blood to other places in the body.

When cancer cells break away from the primary (original) tumor and travel through the lymph or blood to other places in the body, another (secondary) tumor may form. This process is called metastasis. The secondary (metastatic) tumor is the same type of cancer as the primary tumor. For example, if breast cancer spreads to the bones, the cancer cells in the bones are actually breast cancer cells. The disease is metastatic breast cancer, not bone cancer.

Small intestine cancer is grouped according to whether or not the tumor can be completely removed by surgery.

Treatment depends on whether the tumor can be removed by surgery and if the cancer is being treated as a primary tumor or is metastatic cancer.

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eMedicineHealth Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http://cancer.gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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