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This is how cancer spreads through your body

A new video from TedEd explains the process in vivid detail


Joanna Rothkopf
November 26, 2014 7:53PM (UTC)

Just the word "cancer" provokes a special kind of anxiety (at least within me)--after all, over 1 million Americans are diagnosed with the disease in its various forms every year. We all likely know that the basic origin of any cancer is a tumor, which, if left untreated can spread to nearby organs, causing serious damage. But beyond that, how much do we know about the details of cancer's ugly spread?

Now, a new video by the people at TedEd explains in illuminating detail exactly how cancer spreads--or metastasizes--through the body.

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Basically, cancer cells can take advantage of the peritoneum (the "walls" that separate various parts of our body), the blood stream or the lymphatic system in order to spread. Once at a new site within the body, the cancer cells will replicate and form tiny tumors called micrometastases, which eventually grow into normal-sized tumors.

Watch the video below, and maybe forgive its makers for the personified tumor.

 


Joanna Rothkopf

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