Last updated date: 03-Oct-2022

Originally Written in English


An adenocarcinoma is a form of cancer that develops in the mucus-secreting glands of the body. It can develop in your colon, breasts, prostate, pancreas, esophagus, or lungs, among other organs or sections of the body. Some of these malignancies have a common type. Adenocarcinomas, for example, account for 99 percent of all prostate malignancies while 85 percent of all pancreatic cancers. 

Adenocarcinoma occurs if the cells within the glands that line the organs start to grow out of control. These cells can cause serious damage to other healthy tissues in the body and start spreading to other areas. 


Locations and Types of Adenocarcinoma 

Adenocarcinomas are the most common malignancies in the following locations:

  • Adenocarcinoma of the lung: This make up roughly 40 percent of all lung cancers. They develop in newly formed mucus-secreting cells. 
  • Adenocarcinoma of breast: The majority of breast cancers are adenocarcinomas that begin in the milk ducts or milk glands producing milk. 
  • Adenocarcinoma of prostate: Prostate adenocarcinoma is a cancer that occurs within the cells of the prostate gland. Adenocarcinomas are the most common type of prostate cancer. 
  • Adenocarcinoma of pancreas: Pancreatic adenocarcinomas are caused by exocrine cells in the pancreatic ducts growing too fast. Adenocarcinomas account for about 95 percent of exocrine cancers.
  • Adenocarcinoma of colon: Adenocarcinomas are another most common type of colon cancer. Adenocarcinoma of the colon starts in the glands that produce the mucus that lines the colon and rectum. 
  • Adenocarcinoma can also form in the brain, usually due to cancer cells that have spread from other parts of the body.


Signs and Symptoms of Adenocarcinoma 

The following are the possible signs and symptoms of adenocarcinoma;

Breast cancer:

Breast cancer is usually detected in its early stages under screening mammography even before the symptoms appear. It can develop as a new lump in the breast or armpit that is discovered during self-examination. Breast cancer lumps are normally firm and painless; however, this is not always the case. 

Other possible breast cancer symptoms include:

  • A bloody nipple discharge from one breast or rapid onset of nipple discharge
  • A breast with dimpled or puckered skin
  • A change in the shape or size of the breast
  • Breast enlargement
  • Nipple retraction, where the nipple is pushed instead of protruding
  • The nipple or skin that looks red or scaly

Colon cancer:

If the tumor has not grown to create issues or was discovered during the early stages via a screening test, symptoms may not be present. However, colon malignancies frequently cause bleeding, which results in bloody stool. But in most cases, the amount is too small to notice. It's possible to see the blood with time, or a lot will be lost that IDA emerges. The hue of visible blood can range from brilliant red to maroon. 

Other signs and symptoms of colon cancer include:

  • Abdominal cramping or pain
  • Bloating, gas, or a constant feeling of being full
  • Constipation, diarrhea, or other bowel irregularities
  • Stool that gets thinner or narrower
  • Unexpected weight loss

Pancreas cancer:

Symptoms of Adenocarcinoma

This is another malignancy that often has no associated symptoms till it reaches the advanced stage. The earliest signs and symptoms are frequently abdominal pain and weight loss. Others can include jaundice, itching, and clay-colored feces. 

Other potential pancreatic cancer symptoms include:

  • Backache
  • Bloated feeling
  • Excess fat in the stool which makes it smell awful and float
  • Heartburn
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting and nausea

Lung cancer:

A persistent cough associated with blood-tinged sputum is predominant the initial symptom of lung cancer. However, it is usually advanced and has metastasized to other parts of the body by the time symptoms show.

Lung cancer can also cause the following symptoms:

  • Appetite loss and weight loss
  • Breathing problems
  • Chest pain and discomfort
  • Hoarseness
  • Wheezing

Prostate cancer:

Prostate cancer often has no symptoms in males. However, those that may appear as the disease progresses include:

  • Erection difficulties
  • Frequent urge to urination, especially during the night
  • Urine with traces of blood
  • Weak or intermittent urine stream


Adenocarcinoma Diagnosis 

A physical examination is usually the first step in the diagnosis process. The doctor will also take a complete medical history and inquire about your symptoms as well as any potential risk factors. This includes smoking and if other members of your family had or have adenocarcinoma.

A doctor can use one or multiple tests to help diagnose adenocarcinoma. These tests may include the following:


A healthcare provider performs a biopsy by extracting a small sample of tissue. He or she will then take it to a lab for thorough analysis. The biopsy technique is determined by the location of the adenocarcinoma as well as the required tissue amount. 

To extract a sample, some doctors use a narrow or wide needle. Others, including colonic adenocarcinomas, necessitate a more invasive procedure like an endoscopy. Endoscopy involves inserting a catheter or a tube in the region with the symptoms. 

Blood tests 

Doctors can use these to detect cancer-related alterations within blood cells. This is because certain adenocarcinomas and other malignancies can circulate some chemicals in the bloodstream. Changes in prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels, for example, could suggest prostate cancer. 

Imaging tests 

Adenocarcinoma Diagnosis

The healthcare provider can use an x-ray technique to help with the diagnosis. Mammography, for example, may be used to diagnose breast adenocarcinoma. It is special equipment that produces breast x-ray pictures.

A CT scan is a type of x-ray that produces a three-dimensional picture of the whole body. Doctors use them to track the progression of a tumor with time and determine if the treatment is effective. They can as well give a lot of information about malignant tissue. 

Another possibility is an MRI scan. A doctor creates a comprehensive cross-sectional picture of numerous bodily components, organs, and blood vessels using strong magnets and radio waves. If necessary, the doctor can inject a dye or tracer into an MRI scan to help generate clear images and help with diagnosis. 


Adenocarcinoma Treatment 

Adenocarcinoma treatment is usually determined by the location of the tumor, its size, and if it has spread. Healthcare providers will also take into account how healthy the cancer patient is, as the treatment can have major adverse effects. 

The following are some treatment options:

  • Chemotherapy 

This is a form of treatment whereby the doctor injects cancer-killing drugs into the vein using an intravenous (IV) drip or a needle. Alternatively, the patient can take the chemotherapy medications orally through the mouth. 

Although this medication kills cancerous cells, it also destroys some healthy cells in the body. In most cases, chemotherapy causes many people to get sick, feel tired, lose their hair, and have other side effects. Because of this, chemotherapy patients may have to take additional medications or even remain in the hospital during the treatment course.

  • Radiation therapy 

Radiation therapy is characterized by high-energy waves that target and destroy cancerous cells. These waves are delivered by external radiation, which comes from a machine located outside the body. On the other hand, internal radiation entails inserting a needle, seed, or device near the affected area to deliver radiation slowly. 

Radiation therapy, like chemotherapy, has the potential to damage healthy cells and lead to serious side effects. 

  • Targeted therapy 

Some medications target specific cancerous cells. Hence the doctor may prescribe them instead of or in addition to chemotherapy. The accessibility of these medications is determined by the type of cancer and the health of the patient. 

  • Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy is another type of cancer treatment that involves taking drugs that boost the immune system's ability to fight cancer. The majority of immunotherapy medication prolongs life but doesn’t cure cancer completely. 

They might also have fewer adverse effects compared to chemotherapy or radiation. Nonetheless, they can cause mild to severe side effects in some patients. In addition, immunotherapy's benefits vary depending on the type of cancer, stage, and the overall health of the patient.

  • Surgery 

In most cases, the medical providers recommend surgically removing the tumor. For some adenocarcinoma cancers, tumor removal is much safer than with other cancers. A lumpectomy, for example, is the surgical extraction of breast cancer and is somewhat risk-free. On the other hand, surgical removal of a brain tumor can be risky and fatal.

If possible, the surgeon may remove an entire organ or gland. This is especially in persons who have more aggressive adenocarcinoma with an increased risk of spreading. 

Sometimes, the healthcare provider can ask for radiofrequency ablation. It involves the use of energy waves to kill or shrink the tumor. To prevent the tumor from spreading, the physician can remove nearby lymph nodes alongside the tumor. 



Each adenocarcinoma starts in the glandular glands and cells that line the inside of a body organ. These glands can be found in a variety of organs, and adenocarcinoma can develop in any of them. Breast cancer, colorectal cancer, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, and prostate cancer are all common forms.

Whereas they may share some similarities, every kind has its own set of symptoms, diagnostic procedures and tests, treatment, and prognosis.