When Breath Becomes Air


Paul Kalanithi

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on When Breath Becomes Air can help.
When tumors spread from an initial site in the body to a secondary site, the tumors in secondary sites are called metastases (or mets). This is one of the hallmarks of widespread cancer, which is distinguished from benign tumors. Paul’s cancer has metastases, as it has infiltrated multiple organ systems.
Get the entire When Breath Becomes Air LitChart as a printable PDF.
When Breath Becomes Air PDF

Metastases Term Timeline in When Breath Becomes Air

The timeline below shows where the term Metastases appears in When Breath Becomes Air. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1: In Perfect Health I Begin
Human Mortality, Strength, and Support Theme Icon
...to nine hours straight. The surgeon begins by inserting a small camera to look for metastases, because widespread cancer renders the operation useless and causes its cancellation. (full context)
Human Mortality, Strength, and Support Theme Icon
Standing by, Mari has a small thought, hoping for metastases so that the operation will be cancelled. The surgeons discover metastases and the procedure is... (full context)
Time Theme Icon
Human Mortality, Strength, and Support Theme Icon
...brain cancer, describing its two varieties: primary cancers, which are born in the brain, and metastases, which come from another part of the body. Surgery usually prolongs life, but most people... (full context)