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The Different Types of Local Spread

Locally advanced cancersLOW-COAL-LEE ADD-VANST DUH-ZEEZ — Disease that has spread beyond the original cancer and cannot be removed with a single procedure can be broken up into one of three different categories: locally invasive diseaseLOW-COAL-LEE IN-VAY-ZIV DUH-ZEEZ — Disease that has spread to and invaded the chest wall or skin, multifocal diseaseMALL-TEE-FOE-COAL DUH-ZEEZ — Disease that has spread close to the original cancer, resulting in multiple cancers in a single area, and lymph node involvementLIMFF NODE IN-VOLV-MINT — Cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes. A cancer could be classified into more than one of these categories or none of them. Keep in mind, how each of these categories is defined depends on the specific type of cancer and its stage.

Let’s use the dandelion to help us understand the general ideas behind the three different types of local spreadLOW-COAL SPRED — Disease that has only spread to areas near the original cancer.

Locally Invasive Disease

Locally invasive disease is when the tumorTOO-MER — An abnormal growth in the body has grown larger and has invaded nearby organs or tissues, making it difficult to remove completely. (Your doctor might refer to this type of spread as direct extension). It’s comparable to a dandelion with deep roots that are tangled with the roots of many normal flowers in the garden. Because the roots are tangled, it’s challenging to remove just the dandelions without damaging the other flowers.


Multifocal Disease

Multifocal disease is when several cancers (tumors) are detected in the same area of the body, close to each other and the original tumor. A few other names for multifocal disease are local implants and local deposits.

Pretend that the wind never blows in your garden. So, when the dandelion is ready to lose its seeds, the seeds fall straight down to the ground (instead of blowing further away). These seeds grow, and now there are multiple dandelions found in the same flowerbed. It’s possible for a gardener to remove these dandelions if there aren’t too many of them, and they haven’t spread too far.

It is important to note that multifocal and locally invasive cancers have not spread too far from the original tumor. This means the cancer may be easier to treat (but this depends on the type of cancer and where it has spread).

Disease with Lymph Node Involvement

With lymph node involvement, the cancer has spread to (you guessed it) the lymph nodesLIMFF NODES — Glands that filter bodily fluid and react to infections. Even though the cancer has spread further away from the original tumor, it’s still considered locally advanced disease for many types of cancer. This is because the lymph nodes are the closest place the cancer could spread.

Note: Whether lymph node involvement is classified as local spread (locally advanced disease) or systemic spreadSIS-TEM-IK SPRED — Disease that has spread throughout the body through the bloodstream depends on the type of cancer and which lymph nodes are involved. Ask your doctor if you aren’t sure.

When doctors evaluate lymph node involvement, they look at various factors. Some important factors include the number of lymph nodes involved, how big the lymph nodes are, and how far away from the original cancer can abnormalAB-NOR-MOL — Something that is not supposed to happen cancer cells be found in the lymph nodes. Doctors use these factors to help stage the cancer.

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