If stomach cancer spreads

Cancer cells can spread from the stomach to other parts of the body. This spread is called metastasis.

Understanding how a type of cancer usually grows and spreads helps your healthcare team plan your treatment and future care. If stomach cancer spreads, it can spread to the following:

  • pancreas
  • spleen
  • colon
  • small intestine
  • liver
  • mesentery (folds of tissue that hold the abdominal organs in place)
  • omentum
  • diaphragm
  • abdominal wall
  • esophagus
  • adrenal glands
  • lymph nodes in and around the abdomen or above the left collarbone (Virchow node)
  • liver
  • lung
  • bone
  • skin
  • ovaries (Krukenberg tumour)
  • area around the belly button (Sister Mary Joseph node)
  • uterus
  • pelvic area around the rectum (Blumer shelf)
  • brain

Expert review and references

  • American Cancer Society. Stomach Cancer. Atlanta, GA: American Cancer Society; 2014: http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003141-pdf.pdf.
  • Avital, I. et al . Cancer of the stomach. DeVita VT Jr, Lawrence TS, & Rosenberg SA. Cancer: Principles & Practice of Oncology. 9th ed. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2011: 80: pp. 924-954.
  • Czito BG, Palta M & Willett CG . Stomach cancer. Halperin EC, Wazer DE, Perez CA et al. Perez and Brady's Principles and Practice of Radiation Oncology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2013: 58.
  • What You Need to Know About Stomach Cancer .
  • Stemmermann, G. N. & Fenoglio-Preiser, C. M . Gastric cancer: pathology. Kelsen, D. P., Daly, J. M., Kern, S. E., Levin, B., Tepper, J. E., & Van Cutsem, E. (eds.). Principles and Practice of Gastrointestinal Oncology. 2nd ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2008: 21: pp. 257-274.
  • Yao JC, Crane CH, Sano T, et al . Carcinoma of the stomach. Hong WK, et al (eds.). Holland Frei Cancer Medicine. 8th ed. People's Medical Publishing House; 2010: 84: pp. 1086-1108.