by Jason Wasserman MD PhD FRCPC
May 26, 2022

What is an adenoma?

An adenoma is a non-cancerous tumour made up of cells that connect together to form round structures called glands. These are very common tumours and they can occur in almost any location in the body. A gland is a group of cells that connect together to form a ring with a hollow centre called a lumen. Glands produce a variety of substances that help organs function normally. For example, the glands in the stomach make and release substances that help break down food.

The glands in an adenoma are abnormal. For example, when examined under the microscope, the cells are often hyperchromatic (darker) than normal cells and the glands are closer together than the glands in normal tissue. These tumours also often have more glands and the glands are less organized than the glands in normal tissue. These differences allow your pathologist to recognize an adenoma from normal glands.


What are some common types of adenomas?

There are many different types of adenomas and the type depends on where in the body the tumour develops and the type of cells making the glands.

Common types of adenomas include:

Can an adenoma turn into cancer over time?

​Adenomas are non-cancerous tumours. However, some are considered a pre-cancerous conditions because they can turn into cancer over time. The risk associated with an adenoma depends on the type, its location in the body, and whether your pathologist sees any evidence of an additional cellular change called dysplasia.

Talk to your doctor about the risk associated with your type of adenoma.

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