When a cancer spreads to other places in the body, the process is called metastasis. Tumors that are found away from the primary site are called metastasis, and the tumor is referred to as ‘metastatic’. If colorectal cancer spreads to other places in the body, it is called metastatic colorectal cancer.
If cancer forms in a polyp, it can grow into the wall of the colon or rectum over time. The wall of the colon and rectum is made up of many layers. Colorectal cancer starts in the innermost layer (the mucosa) and can grow outward through some or all of the other layers.
When cancer cells are in the wall, they can then grow into blood vessels or lymph vessels (tiny channels that carry away waste and fluid). From there, they can travel to nearby lymph nodes or to distant parts of the body.
A biomarker is an indicator that can predict, measure, or show the:
There are many types of biomarkers including substances that are introduced into the body, as well as: specific cells, molecules, or genes, gene products, enzymes, hormones and more.
A RAS biomarker test is a laboratory procedure that looks for a genetic mutation in cells taken from a very small sample of a colorectal cancer tumor biopsy. The test results help your doctor personalize your medicine for metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC).
If you have metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC), you may have been told that a RAS biomarker test can help your treating physician decide which treatments would be most suitable for you. You may want to ask your doctor whether a RAS biomarker test will be used to understand your treatment options. The questions below may help you talk to your doctor about RAS biomarker testing and what the result might mean for your treatment options. You can download and print this list of questions to take with you.