A Closer Look at Adenocarcinoma

Adenocarcinoma is a type of a malicious tumor which is usually apparent in gland tissue. In order for a tumor to be classified as and adenocarcinoma, its cells do not need to be a part of the gland which is infected as long as these have secretory power. This type of cancer has the ability of metastasis, which is an obvious threat in case of a malicious tumor. In case the tumor is benign, another term is used for the same general condition – adenoma.

This type of cancer is also known as cancer of the colon which is the most common form and one of the most malicious diseases with both genders. Surgical procedure is the main form of treatment, where the prognosis highly depends on how advanced the cancer is. By taking preventive tests and checkups it is possible to discover the disease in its early phase, which can significantly improve chances of survival.


There is a whole list of risk factors which are closely related to this disease. The number of colon polyps is improved over age, but it hasn’t yet been confirmed how much of a benefit this has when it comes to retarding the disease. The factor of hereditary factor is extremely important. Familial polyposis from which the patient inherits a mutated copy of the APC gene is, in fact, a rare condition but it brings a high risk of adenocarcinoma from appearing somewhere in the future. Familial non-polyposis cancer appears with about 1-5% of patients. Consummation of alcohol also improves the risk significantly, as well as decreased intake of foliate, diet rich with oils and cholesterol, lean with fibers; inflammatory diseases of the colon like Cohn’s disease are all significant factors aiding in developing adenocarcinoma. Also, likelihood of ulcerative type of colitis is another high risk factor.

It is believed that regular physical activity has a beneficial effect on reducing the chances of one to get diagnosed with adenocarcinoma.


In the initial stage of the disease there are no obvious symptoms. Symptomatic patients usually describe an irregular pain in stomach, fluctuations in rigidity of feces as well as appearance of blood in the same. Weakness, anemia, a sensation of incomplete colon discharge and an unexplained loss of weight are most common symptoms. The stomach ache is appearing due to partial blockade in the colon, as the tumor is spreading into the lower part of the intestines. Fake cramps that induce instinct for defecation can cause severe muscle pain. Tumor can also clamp the obdurate nerve and cause severe pain syndromes which are really difficult to cope with.

Fresh blood on the surface of the feces is usually caused in cases of rectal adenocarcinoma, but can also be caused by anemia which causes blood loss and this is an indication of a developed stage of the disease. These changes and fluctuations in intestine movement are more common with adenocarcinoma positioned on the left side of your body. Some other, less common symptoms include bloated stomach, noxiousness, vomiting and overall fatigue.


Based on analysis of the risk factors, measures of prevention include a specific diet program, with low percentage of oils, eating large amounts of fruits and vegetables, small amounts of red meat, along with daily physical activity and maintaining a decent body weight. Researches are still being done in order to confirm the effect of vitamins A, E, D and C, as well as folic acid, calcium, aspirin and other inhibitor-type medications. It’s expected for these to have a significant effect in terms of retarding growth of the polyps, which directly slows down the development cycle of the cancer. There are new confirmations to be made so there are plenty of researches being done currently. All of the supplements mention above are promising and should be good and efficient agents to be used as prevention measures against adenocarcinoma.


Patients have different types of treatment at their disposal. Some therapy procedures are standard, while others are based on new ideas and principles that need further testing. Before initiating a procedure of standard treatment, patients can agree to assist in researching of new methods of treatment. Medications which are used for these researches are rigorously tested in laboratory conditions. Clinical research of medication is a scientific study which has the goal of improving all of the current methods of treatment, or to provide additional information about new therapies. Once these clinical researches come to a conclusion that the new type of treatment is more efficient than a standard method, it replaces it in its entirety.

There are three basic standard procedures to treat adenocarcinoma – surgical procedure, chemotherapy and radiation.

The surgical procedure is the most common form of treatment for all types of adenocarcinoma. Following options are available – local excision, which is suitable if the cancer is discovered in an early stage and it is possible to remove it through colon, without opening the stomach wall. Resection is done in case of a larger cancer body, when the doctor attempts colectomy (removal of the cancer body and a bit of healthy tissue). Once this is done, it is possible to do anastomosis, which is sewing up the ends of colon. Even if the entire tumor body is removed, it’s usually advised to take some chemotherapy in order to destroy any left-over cancer cells.

Chemotherapy is a method in which medications are used to battle cancer cells. It can be done orally, intravenously or through a muscle injection. All three methods represent a systematic therapy because the medication enters blood and has an effect over the entire body.

Radiation therapy is basically usage of high powered machines that radiate in different wave lengths that have the potential to destroy tumor cells. It is most commonly used to reduce a tumor’s body mass, in case it is affecting a large number of organs. There are two types of radiation – external and internal which are both used depending on the position of the surrounding organs, with the same effect.

Survival Rate

Around 60% of patients are living 5 years after diagnosis. This five year survival period depends on how advanced the tumor has become. With Dukes A stage which affects only the gland, there are 90% chances of surviving the following 5 years. With a metastatic diagnosis this percentage drops down to 50%. Prognosis of Dukes B stage is around 70% and in case of the tumor breaching into lymph nodes, survival rate is down to 60% of diagnosed patients.

In general, prognosis is bad and it usually comes down to surgical operation, where it’s also possible to lose some of the infected organs in order to improve survival chances. The biggest factor in surviving this condition is how early it is diagnosed. In early stages and if the location of the tumor is easy to access, complete recovery is possible.