Adenocarcinoma: What Exactly Is It ?
Adenocarcinoma : This type of cancer starts out in the glands and may spread throughout other parts of the body. Most common places for this cancer are as follows:
- It can go into the breast, lung, prostate, pancreas, and in the colon.
- There is a more rare type of this cancer which can start out in the sinuses or other areas of the head. This is a slow moving cancer but can spread to the skull.
- It can also develop into the brain.
This is an image of what Adenocarcinoma looks like in the lungs.
So what are the major symptoms of this cancer? Well most of the time people go see their regular doctor because they are feeling unusual and not like themselves. Some of the symptoms for the specific type will be listed below.
- If the cancer started out in the brain or skull: the most common symptoms are, headache, nausea, vomiting, seizures, blurred vision, your personality may change, weird feelings in your legs and arms, and possible changes in the way you think.
- If the cancer is in the lungs: you may experience coughing, hoarseness, bloody mucous, weight loss, weakness and exhaustion.
- If the cancer is in the breast: you may feel a lump or rather unusual growth in the breast.
- If the cancer is in the prostate: you may feel painful urination, bladder control issues, the frequency in which you have to urinate at night, blood in semen and painful ejaculation.
- If the cancer is in the pancreas: unexplained weight loss, back and stomach pain, oily or light colored stool, and itchy skin.
- If the cancer is in the colon: you may have sensations that the bowels are full, bloody colored stool, rectal bleeding, stomach pain and unexplained weight loss.
So you have these symptoms that you have discussed with your doctor, what is the next step? Well your doctor may order further diagnostic testing to determine if you indeed do have adenocarcinoma. These tests include:
- Biopsy: this is a test where your doctor will take a small sample of tissue to test it to see if there are cancerous cells that are growing. And a biopsy also can determine what part of the body the cancer originated and if it has metastasized (which means spread from one area of the body to another).
- Imagining scans: Like an MRI or CT Scan can also provide a 3D image of a growth in the body and help the doctors keep an eye on things to make sure that treatment is working.
- Blood tests are another way to determine if your blood cells have any changes in them which can indicate cancer. There are certain chemicals in the blood that can be associated with certain cancers. An example would be that Prostate-Specific Antigens (PSA) levels change with prostate cancer. So that is a good way to determine if you have cancer would be to check out your blood cell count.
Here is an image of prostate adenocarcinoma.
Treatments vary depending on how big the tumor is. Your doctor will go over the treatment plan with you. Some of the treatment plans are as follows:
- Some patients may opt to have the cancerous cells removed which is just fine if you have a less life threatening cancer like breast cancer. If you have brain cancer it is more life threatening to remove the cancer cells so, another option would be more appropriate.
- Another type of procedure would be to perform radio-frequency ablation which uses electrolysis to shrink or destroy the tumor. Lymph nodes that are close to the tumor may be removed at the same time.
- Chemotherapy is another chosen treatment option. They stick a needle with the treatment into a vein. This treatment option may kill the cancerous cells but it also damages healthy ones too. A side effect to this type of treatment is hair loss, weight loss and overall feeling sick. Some may need to stay in the hospital while undergoing this type of treatment.
- Targeted therapy is another form of treatment which utilizes certain drugs for a specific targeted area. This is a less harmful alternative to chemotherapy. But the availability of these drugs depends on what type of cancer the individual has and how healthy they are at the time of the procedure.
- Radiation is another type of treatment which uses high energy waves to kill the cancer cells but keep in mind not only does it kill the cancer cells it can also kill good, healthy cells.
- Immunotherapy uses medication to help the immune system to kill off the bad, cancerous cells. This type of therapy only prolongs the life and doesn’t get rid of the cancer cells completely. A plus side to this type of therapy is that it would help boost the immune system and produce less harmful side effects than chemotherapy or radiation. Like it was stated before the availability of this type of treatment would depend on the person’s health, the type of cancer and the stage the cancer is in.
This is an electro-chemotherapy image used for adenocarcinoma.
Last but not least is the stages that adenocarcinoma has.
- Stages 1-3 represent the spread of the cancer cells and with the bigger numbers indicating that the larger tumors are spreading to other tissue areas.
- Stage 4 is the one where the cancer cells have spread to other parts of the body.
The diagnosis of Stage 1-3 cancerous cells means that if you get the treatment done as soon as possible and don’t wait and let it get bigger the higher the chances are that you can get rid of the cancer cells and recover fully.
Stage 4 cancer can mean that it is terminal (you can die from it). For some it means that they can try and attempt to have one of the treatments but it more than likely won’t cure them of cancer.
Early detection of any kind of cancer like adenocarcinoma is vital to getting the treatment to hopefully stop the cancer from growing. Go talk with your doctor if you aren’t feeling like yourself, you may prolong your life and get to see your kids and grandkids graduate and get married and have little ones of their own. That is the best reason to go get checked out to see if you have cancer or not.