A cystadenoma is a type of cystic adenoma, referred to as a cystadenocarcinoma when malignant.
They can appear in different areas of the body but usually found in the salivary glands, ovaries, or pancreas; the three most common types of cystadenomas are:
serous cystadenoma (fluid that lines the membranes in body cavities), papillary cystadenoma (tumors characterized by distention cause by buildup of fluids or outgrowths of tissue), and mucinous cystadenoma (category of ovarian tumors).
Cystadenoma Signs & Symptoms
Symptoms depend on the location of the mass:
- An ovarian cystadenoma is made of fluid or mucus. Most of these masses are benign and do not demonstrate any symptoms, but when malignant, they can grow to be extremely large and become very painful as they do so. They may also twist upon themselves, which can cause excruciating pain and discomfort.
- A serous cystadenoma in the pancreas can cause abdominal pain, vomiting, and/or nausea. Unlike many other pancreatic tumors, a cystadenoma does not cause jaundice.
- A papillary cystadenoma , also known as a Warthin’s tumor, can cause swelling or sensitivity in the affected area, a lump near the back of the lower jaw, paralysis in the facial nerves, tinnitus, or earache. This type of tumor may also be asymptomatic.
Cystadenoma Diagnosis & Treatment
Diagnosis depends on the type of cystadenoma in question.
- A serous cystadenoma is usually diagnosed through one of a number of imaging exams: a CT or CAT scan, endoscopic ultrasound (EUS), or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), all of which will show an abnormality in the pancreas, are the most common exams conducted.
- An ovarian cystadenoma can be diagnosed by an ultrasound, which will detect any abnormalities on the ovaries. Ultrasounds allow physicians to take pictures of the scan, which can provide a more detailed view of the mass. A biopsy will provide a definitive diagnosis of cancer.
- A papillary cystadenoma, or Warthin’s tumor, is usually benign and diagnosed through a biopsy.
Treatment for a serous cystadenoma usually includes surgery, or, if the lesion is small, observation to determine if the growth gets larger. An ovarian cystadenoma may need to be surgically removed depending on the stage and location of the mass. A papillary cystadenoma is usually surgically removed and does not recur.
A patient’s prognosis is determined by the type, size, location, and stage of the mass. Some of these tumors are benign and unlikely to become malignant; others have a higher risk of malignancy and need to be treated immediately. A medical professional can provide a likely prognosis and work with a patient to determine the best course of treatment.