Mar 14, 2023
What started as a ‘niggling pain’ led to the diagnosis of Stage 4 Metastatic Cancer for Bollywood actress Sonali Bendre.
In 2018, Twitter and Instagram were taken by storm as Sonali Bendre announced that she has been diagnosed with Metastatic cancer. “Sometimes when you least expect it, life throws you a curveball..” was what she wrote.
Moreover, she did not experience any symptoms of cancer. The only discomfort she experienced was a ‘niggling pain’ as described by her, and by then, the cancer had already advanced. Most cancers are not detected or do not cause symptoms until advanced stages, which makes it difficult to treat the condition.
But what is it, this metastatic cancer that Sonali Bendre was diagnosed with? And what are its causes and treatment? That’s what we are here to find out.
Let’s learn more about this dangerous disease below and accelerate your NEET SS preparation.
Before understanding metastatic cancer, let us first understand the definition of metastasis.
Metastasis is a word used to describe cancer growth. Cancer cells can grow outside their place of origin. This means they can move to different body areas and grow there, unlike normal cells. This occurrence is called metastatic cancer, advanced cancer or Stage IV cancer.
Most forms of cancer can metastasize, and they can occur in three ways:
Metastatic cancer is an advanced form of cancer. However, it is hard to detect without a proper diagnosis because the affected patient might not even know they have cancer. To better understand this, let us look at the symptoms and causes of metastatic cancer.
Metastatic cancer is hard to figure out because some people will have minimal or no symptoms of metastatic cancer. This is why Sonali Bendre was unaware she had cancer until she consulted a doctor about her ‘niggling pain.’
However, in the event that symptoms are present, they will differ based on the location of the metastasis. Let’s learn more about this.
The first sign of bone metastasis is bone breaking after a minor or no injury. Patients who complain of severe back pain accompanied by leg numbness or difficulty with bowel or bladder movement must be evaluated immediately.
If a tumor has metastasized in the brain, then the symptoms may include headache, dizziness, visual problems, nausea, difficulty in walking or confusion.
Cancer symptoms of lung metastasis are similar to symptoms of other health conditions and, therefore, can be vague. However, warning signs for lung metastasis might include cough, coughing blood, chest pain and shortness of breath.
A metastasis of the liver can cause pain, weight loss, jaundice (yellowing of the eyes), loss of appetite or abdominal fluid (ascites).
Also read: Medical News Bulletin Edition 10
Metastatic cancer occurs when cancer cells break off from the main tumour and spread to other parts of the body through the lymphatic system, the bloodstream or spread to tissues surrounding the area around the original tumour.
Next, let’s look at the diagnosis for Metastatic Cancer
Unfortunately there is no standard diagnosis to check for metastasis. As a doctor, you will have to order tests based on the type of cancer the patient develops and the symptoms they display.
The following are some of the tests that can be ordered to run a diagnosis for metastatic cancer.
Routine blood tests are a good way to check for liver metastasis as blood test results can indicate if liver enzymes are elevated. However, in many cases, blood test results are normal even in the presence of metastasis.
Some cancer types have tumor markers that make it easy to monitor the cancer after diagnosis. For example, colon cancer (CEA or carcinoembryonic antigen), ovarian cancer (CA-125), prostate cancer (PSA or prostate-specific antigen) and testes cancer (AFP or alpha-feto-protein and HCG or human chorionic gonadotropin) have specific markers that can be used to monitor the spread of the cancer.
At the same time, there are many types of cancer where the tumor markers are less specific and therefore, are not used as a tool for diagnosis.
Also read: Selecting a branch for SS and residency subject.
Imaging tests are used to reveal what’s inside the body by creating images of them. Again, the type of tests that should be ordered depends on the symptoms displayed by the patient.
Ultrasound: An ultrasound is a good way to identify any tumors and check the abdomen for fluids. This can easily show the difference between fluid-filled cysts and solid masses.
CT Scan: This is a test used to detect abnormalities in the head, neck, chest, abdomen and pelvis. In addition, this can also be used to identify tumors in the lungs, liver or lymph nodes.
Bone scan: Damaged bones show up as a ‘’hotspot’’ in this test. Bone scans are done with a radioactive tracer and are used to evaluate the whole body for cancer-related bone damage.
MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging): This test uses radio waves and magnets to create images of the inside of a patient's body and it can be used to detect spinal cord damage and identify brain metastasis.
PET (Positron Emission Tomography) Scan: This test can detect abnormalities anywhere in the body by using a special type of dye containing radioactive tracers that light up problematic areas in the body.
Moving on, let us go through the treatment for metastatic cancer.
The treatment for metastasis is based on the original site of the cancer. For example, if a person has breast cancer and the cancer has spread to the liver, it is still treated as breast cancer. This is done so because although the cancer has spread to a new place, the cells themselves haven’t changed.
And that is everything you need to know about metastatic cancer that the beloved actress Sonali Bendre was suffering from.
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Before we conclude, have you heard about three-time Grammy nominee Halsey’s struggle with Endometriosis? If not, click on the link and read all about Halsey and Endometriosis.
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Own Your Dream
Arindam is a Content Marketer who looks after the Medical Super Specialty segment, specifically the NEET SS category, at PrepLadder. He aims to help aspirants crack exams and realize their dreams through his work.
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