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Treatment Options for Carcinoma of Unknown Primary

    Newly Diagnosed Carcinoma of Unknown Primary

    Cervical (Neck) Lymph Nodes

    Recommended Related to Cancer

    Get More Information From NCI

    Call 1-800-4-CANCER For more information, U.S. residents may call the National Cancer Institute's (NCI's) Cancer Information Service toll-free at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237) Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Eastern Time. A trained Cancer Information Specialist is available to answer your questions. Chat online The NCI's LiveHelp® online chat service provides Internet users with the ability to chat online with an Information Specialist. The...

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    Cancer found in cervical (neck) lymph nodes may have spread from a tumor in the head or neck. Treatment of cervical lymph node carcinoma of unknown primary (CUP) may include the following:

    • Surgery to remove the tonsils.
    • Radiation therapy alone. Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) may be used.
    • Radiation therapy followed by surgery to remove the lymph nodes.
    • Surgery to remove the lymph nodes, with or without radiation therapy.
    • A clinical trial of new types of treatment.

    See the PDQ summary on Metastatic Squamous Neck Cancer with Occult Primary Treatment for more information.

    Poorly Differentiated Carcinomas

    Cancer cells that are poorly differentiated look very different from normal cells. The type of cell they came from is not known. Treatment of poorly differentiated carcinoma of unknown primary, including tumors in the neuroendocrine system (the part of the brain that controls hormone -producing glands throughout the body) may include the following:

    • Combination chemotherapy.
    • A clinical trial of new types of treatment.

    Women with Peritoneal Cancer

    Treatment for women who have peritoneal (lining of the abdomen) carcinoma of unknown primary may be the same as for ovarian cancer. Treatment may include the following:

    • Chemotherapy.
    • A clinical trial of new types of treatment.

    See the PDQ summary on Ovarian Epithelial Cancer Treatment for more information.

    Isolated Axillary Lymph Node Metastasis

    Cancer found only in the axillary (armpit) lymph nodes may have spread from a tumor in the breast.

    Treatment of axillary lymph node metastasis is usually:

    • Surgery to remove the lymph nodes.

    Treatment also may include one or more of the following:

    • Surgery to remove the breast.
    • Radiation therapy to the breast.
    • Chemotherapy.
    • A clinical trial of new types of treatment.

    Inguinal Lymph Node Metastasis

    Cancer found only in the inguinal (groin) lymph nodes most likely began in the genital, anal, or rectal area. Treatment of inguinal lymph node metastasis may include the following:

    • Surgery to remove the cancer and/or lymph nodes in the groin.
    • Surgery to remove the cancer and/or lymph nodes in the groin, followed by radiation therapy or chemotherapy.
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