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How Endometrial Cancer Spreads

Endometrial cancer behaves differently in each woman. Even women who have the same type of cancer in the same stage and who get the same treatment can have different results. Some women are cured, while others have cancer that spreads or comes back. Doctors do not know the reason for this difference. They think it may be because each woman's tumor cells are different and grow at different rates.

What a particular cancer looks like and how it spreads away from the original tumor is called its pathophysiology. If endometrial cancer spreads, it tends to first go to places near the uterus, such as the fallopian tubes, ovaries, and lymph nodes. It can then spread to the cervix, vagina, and even as far as the lungs. Advanced cancer may also spread to the bladder and bowel.

Cancer that spreads to other parts of the body is called metastatic cancer, and the process is called metastasis. Metastasis is a complicated process. The cancerous cells of the tumor invade normal tissues, blood vessels, and the lymph system. They then travel through the bloodstream and lymph to reach other parts of the body. When the metastases reach other organs, they depend on the formation of new blood vessels to survive and grow.

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