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Cancer of Unknown Primary

All cancers start at a single point in the body: the primary. They can then spread to other sites in the body: the secondaries or metastases.

For some cancers, the primary site is not always obvious and the only evidence of the cancer is the presence of metastases. Often the primary will not be found, despite an intensive search involving multiple scans and tests. Cancer like this is known as cancer of unknown primary or CUP.

The Clatterbridge Clinic has a team skilled in analysing scans and biopsies to determine the origin of cancers like these. We are also able to offer the latest genetic tests that can be performed on a biopsy specimen to identify the most likely primary.

Once we have a definitive diagnosis, or created a shortlist that is as short as possible, our consultants are able to offer a personalised treatment plan. Depending on patient fitness this will usually involve chemotherapy. Surgery, radiotherapy and hormone therapy may also be used.