December 5, 2023

Adenocarcinoma is a malignant (cancerous) tumour made up of glandular cells. These cells are normally found inside organs such as the lungs, breast, stomach, pancreas, colon, ovaries, and endometrium. It is the most common type of cancer to affect the internal organs.

This type of cancer can sometimes spread to other parts of the body, such as the brain, liver, lungs, lymph nodes, bone, or bone marrow. This is called metastatic adenocarcinoma. The risk of spread depends on many factors including the location of the tumour, the tumour subtype, the size of the tumour, and the tumour grade. Metastatic disease is usually harder to treat and has a lower survival rate than localized or regional cancer.

The survival rate of adenocarcinoma varies depending on the type and stage of the cancer, as well as the response to treatment. Some types of adenocarcinoma have a better prognosis than others. For example, breast cancer has a five-year survival rate of about 90%, while pancreatic cancer has a five-year survival rate of about 10%.

What are the symptoms of adenocarcinoma?

Because adenocarcinoma can start almost anywhere in the body, the symptoms of this type of cancer are highly variable and depend on the location of the tumour and the stage. For example, shortness of breath and coughing are typically associated with adenocarcinoma of the lung while vomiting, nausea, and early satiety (feeling full earlier than normal) are often associated with adenocarcinoma of the stomach. Unfortunately, some people with this type of cancer do not experience any symptoms until the tumour has become very large or cancer cells have metastasized (spread) to other parts of the body.

What causes adenocarcinoma?

Causes of adenocarcinoma include smoking (lung cancer), hormonal and genetic factors (breast and prostate cancer), exposure to toxins (bladder cancer), and viruses (cervical cancer).

About this article

Doctors wrote this article to assist you in reading and comprehending your pathology report. Feel free to reach out to us with any questions about this article or your pathology report. To get a comprehensive introduction to your pathology report, read this article.

Other helpful resources

Atlas of pathology
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