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Secondary cancer

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A primary cancer is where a cancer starts. Sometimes cancer cells can break away from the primary cancer and settle and grow in another part of the body. This new cancer growth is called secondary cancer. Secondary cancers are made up of the same type of cells as the primary cancer. So, if you have bowel cancer that has spread to the liver, you have primary bowel cancer with secondary cancer in the liver.

Some cancers can spread to other parts of the body through the blood system or through the lymphatic system. There is information about what cancer is and about how cancer spreads in our section about cancers in general.

Some cancers are more likely to spread to certain parts of the body than others. For example, breast cancer is most likely to spread to the bones, liver or lungs. But a cancer that starts in the lung is more likely to spread to the lymph nodes, liver, brain or the adrenal glands.

This section has information about cancer that has spread to

Click on the links above to go to pages about secondary cancers in these parts of the body.

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Updated: 17 October 2013