Adenocarcinoma (glandular cancer) is a malignant tumor, which is formed from glandular epithelium. Glandular cells are present in all the organs of external and internal secretion. Gastric chief cells have exactly the same characteristics as the normal epithelium, but they can also secrete into the external environment (intestinal lumen) or directly into the blood. They are located in the skin glands, salivary glands, stomach and intestines, pancreas, and others. Under the influence of adverse factors can transform into adenocarcinoma.
And so it appears that adenocarcinoma can develop anywhere in the body where there are glands. During the development of the disease, the tumor grows into the lumen of the gastrointestinal tract, can infect nearby organs and sends distant metastases. Adenocarcinoma can sometimes keep the ability to produce secretory liquid, within which there are a variety of substances, and therefore, we distinguish between serous and mucinous adenocarcinoma. The neoplasm may be of various shapes and sizes.
According to statistics, most cases of malignant tumors associated with disruption of the glandular cells and the disorder of the outflow of secretions. Frequent use of large quantities of sausages, sweets, fatty foods and flour in one’s diet can also provoke adenocarcinoma.
There are general and specific factors that can trigger the disease.
The following factors can act as causes of adenocarcinoma:
- Genetic errors.
- Chronic diseases.
- Large doses radiation
- Constant exposure to toxic materials
- Papilloma virus
Specific factors that might provoke provoke the mutation of cells:
- Adenocarcinoma often develops in the intestine due to fistulas, regular constipation, colitis, polyps.
- Hot food can provoke burns in the esophagus, leading to the esophageal adenocarcinoma.
- Glandular cancer can form in the kidney due to glomerulonephritis, pyelonephritis.
- The disease can affect the liver because of hepatitis, cirrhosis and infectious diseases.
- Prostate adenocarcinoma can be caused by genetic factors, hormonal aging and transformation or XMRV virus.
- Chronic cystitis, leukoplakia, stagnation of urine contribute to the development of bladder tumors.
Symptoms of the disease
Three stages of adenocarcinoma development can be identified:
- Latent stage. Also called “hidden” because of the absence of any symptoms.
- First symptoms stage, as they are enhanced due to tumor growth: pain in the area of tumor location, constipation, occurrence of blood clots, swelling of the lymph nodes.
- Clear signs of a lesion connected to the intensive growth of cancer cells, the tumor dissemination and the appearance of metastasis, tumor ulceration, intestinal obstruction, etc.
The patients often do not show any symptoms for quite an extensive period of time. With the progression of tumor growth non-specific symptoms also begin to emerge, such as: weight loss, reduction of hemoglobin, sleep disturbance, fatigue.
During the formation of adenocarcinoma in the intestines the following symptoms emerge:
- Abdominal pain;
- Nausea, vomiting;
- Violation of intestines’ patency;
- Postprandial discomfort;
- Presence of mucus and blood in the stool;
- Alternation of constipation and liquid stool.
Adenocarcinoma of the oesophagus can lead to the following:
- Dysphagia – abnormalities of swallowing;
- Pain whuke swallowing;
- Severe drooling as a result of narrowing of the oesophagus
Adenocarcinoma, pharyngeal or nasal cavity characterized by the following features:
- Nose, throat and larynx pains;
- Chronic inflammation and swelling of the tonsils;
- Pain while swallowing, which can referred into the ears and might interfere with speech;
- Swollen lymph nodes or salivary glands.
Symptoms of liver adenocarcinoma:
- Pain sensation in the right upper quadrant;
- Accumulation of fluid in the abdomen;
- Yellow tinge of skin and eyes.
Diagnostics – adenocarcinoma
Routine laboratory studies might cause a suspicion of oncology process based on high ESR, changes in leukocyte counts, low counts of red blood cells. Trace of blood in faeces also lead to malignancy suspect, but it can be easily confused with a bleeding ulcer. Therefore, an accurate diagnosis can be determined only by means of biopsy’s histological examination.
In order to establish the exact size of the tumor, the degree of invasion in the intestine’s wall and nearby organs and also detection or exclusion of metastases presence, it is necessary to conduct a PET-CT, CT and ultrasound studies.
Fluoroscopy can also be used to determine the shape, the precise location of the tumor and possible complications. For this, the contrast agents are used. Barium is used most often in gastroenterology.
Visual inspection of the internal organs can be conducted with the assistance of the endoscope, with the aim to confirm or exclude the presence of the disease. During endoscopy, a biopsy can be performed to further study the tissue under a microscope.
Treatment of adenocarcinoma
Adenocarcinoma is usually treated by surgery in combination with chemotherapy and radiation therapy. A radical removal of the tumor significantly increases the chances of recovery. Today there are a variety of pharmacological agents that promote the efficiency of radical surgery.
Tomotherapy – an innovative method of radiation therapy in the treatment of adenocarcinomas. 3-D scanner used during treatment, identifies the affected area with great precision and allows to focus high-impact beams of radiation to the tumor, affecting virtually no healthy tissue. Thus, doctors can easily select the optimal radiation dose and determine the precise exposure zone with a minimum of detrimental effect on healthy tissue. This technique is often used to treat cancer of the esophagus and lungs.
Radiation therapy is effective in reducing pain after surgery, for treatment of tumors that can not be removed completely or in the presence of inoperable metastases. Most often radiotherapy is used as an additional method to complex treatment.
Chemotherapy after surgery seriously improves the prognosis for recovery. The treatment course is prescribed individually. When the tumor is inoperable, chemotherapy often becomes the main course of treatment. Chemotherapy is also used for treatment of relapses, in order to extend the patient’s life and general state of health.