Why choose us for cancer of unknown primary care?
Cancers of unknown primary site (CUPS) can be challenging to treat. The doctors at Mays Cancer Center, home to UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson Cancer Center, have specialized expertise to treat these complex conditions precisely.
Our team uses advanced diagnostic tools and testing, such as molecular and genetic tests. Often, we can identify where cancer started.
You can trust our team to make research-based treatment recommendations that consider your needs and preferences. We offer access to some of the latest cancer advances, including targeted therapies and clinical trials. We make it easy for you can receive leading cancer treatments, convenient to San Antonio and surrounding communities.
What you need to know about cancer of unknown primary site
- Cancer can develop from many types of cells, anywhere in the body. It can also spread to other areas (called metastasis).
- Cancer of unknown primary site (CUPS) is what doctors call a cancer when diagnostic tests cannot determine where the cancer started. You may also hear the term occult primary cancer. Our team includes specialists who understand how to diagnose and treat these complex conditions.
- Not all cancer cells react the same way to treatments. Molecular profiling and genetic tests tell us details about cancer cell features (what cells look like under a microscope) and drivers (genes and molecular markers).
- Our cancer doctors use a wide range of diagnostic tools to learn as much as we can about a cancer. These tests help us recommend treatments that are appropriate for you.
How to talk to your doctor about cancer of unknown primary site
A cancer of unknown primary diagnosis can be unsettling. We understand, and we’re here to support you.
Our team will explain your diagnosis and help you understand how cancer may affect your health. You can count on our specialists to recommend research-based treatments that are among the most advanced.
We encourage you to voice questions and concerns at any time. We welcome friends or loved ones at your appointments, if that feels right to you.
You might want to ask your doctor about:
- Additional testing you may need and how test results help guide treatment recommendations
- Cancer details, including where the cancer may have originated and what that means for your long-term health
- Treatment options, including clinical trials for which you may be eligible, now or in the future
- Support services, including how we can help you manage treatment side effects or make it easier for you to receive treatment
Doctors group CUPS by how cells look under a microscope. Common CUPS types include:
- Adenocarcinoma can start from gland cells. Found in many different organs, such as the pancreas and lung, it is the most common type of CUPS.
- Squamous cell carcinoma has characteristics similar to cells that line the skin and many organs (called squamous cells).
- Adenosquamous carcinoma contains two types of cells: squamous cells (thin, flat cells) and gland-like cells. It is known to be more aggressive than adenocarcinoma.
- Neuroendocrine carcinoma resembles nerve cells. Doctors may find it in many areas of the body, such as the esophagus, pancreas, digestive system or lungs.