Cancer of Unknown Primary
Cancer of Unknown Primary Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention – Cancer of Unknown Primary Specialist Dr. Anup Toshniwal
What is Cancer of Unknown Primary?
Carcinoma of unknown primary (CUP) is a rare disease in which malignant (cancer) cells are found in the body but the place the cancer began is not known.
Cancer can form in any tissue of the body. The primary cancer (the cancer that first formed) can spread to other parts of the body. This process is called metastasis.
Some genes control when our cells grow and divide into new cells:
- Certain genes that help cells grow and divide are called oncogenes.
- Genes that help keep cell division under control or cause cells to die at the right time are called tumor suppressor genes.
Cancers can be caused by DNA changes that turn on oncogenes or turn off tumor suppressor genes.
- Long-lasting pain in a specific area of the body.
- Loss of appetite.
- Unexplained weight loss.
- A cough or hoarseness that doesn’t go away.
- Thickening or lump in any part of the body.
- Changes in bowel or bladder habits.
- Unusual bleeding or discharge.
- Recurring fever or night sweats.
How do you identify a primary source of cancer?
Sometimes, MSK’s doctors can determine the primary site through tissue review by expert pathologists, radiology imaging, or molecular testing, such as MSK-IMPACT™. If the likely primary site is identified, treatment is directed there. For most people with CUP, a primary site of cancer is not identified.