This is how cancer spreads through your body

A new video from TedEd explains the process in vivid detail

Published November 26, 2014 2:53PM (EST)

  (<a href=''>DTKUTOO</a> via <a href=''>Shutterstock</a>)
(DTKUTOO via Shutterstock)

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.

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.


By Joanna Rothkopf

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