Metastatic brain cancer. Coloured coronal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan through the brain of a patient with a metastatic brain cancer (pink, upper left). A metastatic (secondary) cancer is one that has spread from a primary site elsewhere in the body. This cancer originated from a lung cancer. The cancer and the associated fluid accumulation (oedema) is pressing on surrounding brain tissues. Cancer cells divide in an uncontrolled fashion and migrate to invade other tissues. Treatment is with surgery if the cancer is still localised, and chemotherapy and radiotherapy if it has spread. The prognosis is often poor once a cancer has spread.
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