Adenocarcinoma is a cancer of the glandular tissue, which can include the skin’s outer layer, glands, and other tissue that lines the body’s cavities and organs. It is most commonly affiliated with lung cancer and is responsible for 90-95 percent of all colorectal cancers, but adenocarcinoma can develop in any part of the body that has excretory properties. There are two sub-types of the condition: signet ring cell adenocarcinoma (named for how it appears under a microscope) and mucinous adenocarcinoma (named because the cells contain a large amount of mucus).
Adenocarcinoma Signs & Symptoms
Signs and symptoms of this disease depend on where in the body the condition develops.
In lung cancer, the adenocarcinoma forms on the outside of the organ, which can make it more difficult to detect. Many of the most common symptoms of lung cancer, such as a persistent cough and/or coughing up blood, may not occur until after the condition has progressed considerably. Some of the more obvious symptoms of the disease’s early stages, such as fatigue and shortness of breath, are often overlooked or associated with another less serious condition, such as the flu. This type of lung cancer is most commonly found in women and non-smokers.
For colorectal cancer, some of the most common symptoms are blood in the stool, diarrhea, constipation, or a change in bowel habits, vomiting, and cramping.
Adenocarcinoma Diagnosis & Treatment
Adenocarcinoma is usually diagnosed through an x-ray. Depending on where it may be in the body, a doctor may also prescribe a biopsy or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan, which can pinpoint the location and size of the mass.
For colorectal cancer, a common procedure for diagnosis is a barium enema, a procedure in which an enema that contains barium (a silvery-white metallic liquid) is inserted into the rectum. The barium coats the GI tract and x-rays are taken.
The type of treatment is determined by where the adenocarcinoma is in the body, but chemotherapy and radiation are prescribed to most patients regardless of the mass’ location. A doctor may also order a more specialized course of treatment depending on the size, location, and stage of the mass.
The patient’s prognosis depends on the size, location, and stage of the condition. If detected early, the patient has a much higher survival rate.