Cancer that spreads to distant parts of the body is known as metastatic
cancer and is often referred to as “stage IV cancer.”
cer.” According to the National Cancer Institute, when observed
under a microscope, metastatic cancer cells feature
traits like that of the primary cancer and do not mimic the
cells in the part of the body where the cancer is found. That is
how doctors can tell that the cancer is metastatic cancer and
has spread from another part of the body.
When doctors diagnose metastatic cancer, they will refer
to it with the same name as the primary cancer regardless of
where the metastatic cancer was discovered. For example, the
NCI notes that breast cancer that has spread to the lungs will
not be referred to as lung cancer, but metastatic breast cancer.
In addition, when treating the disease in this example, doctors
will treat the cancer as stage IV breast cancer, not as lung
Understanding metastatic cancer can help recently diagnosed
men and women better comprehend their disease and
their prognosis. AC189266
Attitudes about m
marijuana are changing. Such changes
Shifting attitudes about marijuana, also known as cannabis,
may be attributed to various factors, including medical
research. Though research studying the effects of marijuana
on recovering cancer patients is ongoing, cancer patients and
their families may be curious about the potential for cannabis
to assist in their recoveries.
What is marijuana?
Marijuana is a plant that originated in central Asia but
is now grown in many parts of the world. According to the
National Cancer Institute, the cannabis plant produces a resin
that contains compounds known as “cannabinoids,” which
are active chemicals that, when ingested, affect various parts
of the human body, including the central nervous system and
the immune system. One active cannabinoid is cannabidiol,
tion without making users feel the “high” that other cannabinoids
What are some other potential effects of cannabinoids?
The NCI notes that research has shown that cannabinoids
may be able to do more than relieve cancer patients’ pain
the NCI says cannabinoids may be able to block cell growth.
The NCI points to studies in mice and rats that have shown
that cannabinoids may inhibit tumor growth by causing cell
death, blocking cell growth and blocking the development of
blood vessels that tumors need to grow. Cancer is marked by
the uncontrolled division of abnormal cells, so the potential
In addition, the NCI cites laboratory and animal studies that
have shown that cannabinoids may be able to kill cancer cells
while protecting normal cells.
Have cannabinoids been linked to particular cancers?
Studies have shown that cannabinoids may have an effect on
various types of cancer, including breast cancer and liver cancer.
The NCI notes that a laboratory study of delta-9-THC,
the main active cannabinoid in marijuana, in liver cancer cells
indicated that the cannabinoid damaged or killed the cancer
cells. Another laboratory study of CBD in estrogen receptor
positive and estrogen receptor negative breast cancer cells
showed that CBD caused cancer cell death while having little
effect on normal breast cells.
Societal attitudes about marijuana are shifting, and ongoing
regarding its po-
in treating cancer
may be changing
the way the
Though research studying the effects of marijuana on recovering
cancer patients is ongoing, cancer patients and their
families may be curious about the potential for cannabis to
assist in their recoveries.
FLORIDA WOMEN MAGAZINE 813.68821.39.366842 .9364 OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2018 • 21