Metastasis, or metastatic disease, is the spread of a cancer from one organ or part to another non-adjacent organ or part. The new occurrences of disease thus generated are referred to as metastases (sometimes abbreviated mets) It was previously thought that only malignant tumor cells and infections have the capacity to metastasize; however, this is being reconsidered due to new research. In origin metastasis is a Greek word meaning 'displacement', from , meta, 'next', and , stasis, 'placement'. The plural is metastases. Cancer occurs after a single cell in a tissue is progressively genetically damaged to produce a cancer stem cell possessing a malignant phenotype. These cancer stem cells are able to undergo uncontrolled abnormal mitosis, which serves to increase the total number of cancer cells at that location. When the area of cancer cells at the originating site becomes clinically detectable, it is called a primary tumor.
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