Adenocarcinoma originated in the lining of internal organs that are rich in glands. Some of examples are the lungs, breast, prostate, stomach, pancreas and cervix. According to the World Health Organization, it is defined to be a malignant epithelial tumor with tubular or papillary growth patterns or mucus production by the tumor cells.

Adenocarcinoma stems out from adenomas. It has been found that the size of the adenoma is also proportional on how it can be cancerous. The bigger the adenoma, the more it is suspected to be cancerous.

Adenocarcinoma in Lung Cancer:

Adenocarcinoma is a form of a non-small cell lung cancer. Women and non-smokers may acquire this lung cancer. The outer edges of the lungs are prone for such cancer. The development of such adenocarcinoma will be called bronchioalveolar adenocarcinoma. In the present, 40% of the cases belong to the bronchioalveolar adenocarcinoma. Lung adenocarcinoma is also present for non smokers due to exposure with radon.

Types of non-small cell lung cancer:

  1. Squamous carcinoma
  2. Large cell carcinoma
  3. Adenocarcinoma

Signs and Symptoms:

  1. Cough
  2. Shortness of breath
  3. Wheezing
  4. Chest pain
  5. Unexplained fever
  6. Coughing up blood

Diagnostic Examination:

  1. Chest X-ray
  2. Chest CT Scan
  3. Gram Stain of sputum
  4. Bronchoscopy
  5. PET Scan for proliferating tumors

Stages of Lung Cancer

  1. Stage 1 – The cancer is just inside the lungs.
  2. Stage 2 – The lymph nodes are included already.
  3. Stage 3 – The lung cancer has reached the tissues as well as the lymph nodes.
  4. Stage 4 – The cancer has travelled to other remote organs.

Medical management:

  1. A surgical approach can be done if the stage of lung cancer involves a limited part of the body only. Lobectomy can be done if the lung cancer can be more likely is classified in stage 1 or early part of stage 2.
  2. Chemotherapy can be included in the plan of care in order to augment the spreading of the cancer cells.
  3. Radiation therapy is another way stops the metastasis.

The prognosis of adenocarcinoma in the lungs cancer may relay on the growth of cancer tumors.

Adenocarcinoma in Colorectal Cancer:

The natural anatomy of the colon makes it vulnerable for adenocarcinoma. There are many glands in the colon which can be a candidate for mutation.

Two subtypes of adenocarcinoma:

  1. Mucinous Adenocarcinoma – This type of adenocarcinoma is generally composed of mucus.  A theory was made that this type of adenocarcinoma is easily migrated to other organs due to its nature of being rich in mucus.
  2. Signet Ring Cell Adenocarcinoma – This malignant tumor appears to have more fat that once it is processed and observed using a microscope the nucleus shrinked and making it look like a “signet ring” literally. In terms of treatment, this type of adenocarcinoma can be hardly cured.

Medical Management:

  1. Chemotherapy with the use of 5-Fluorouracil gives a promising result.  It is proven to be effective as well as patients experience freedom from cancer progression. There are systemic adverse reaction from chemotherapeutic therapy. Proper management of such symptoms must also be done.
  2. Radiation therapy has an important role in colon cancer. It may also lessen the metastasis of cancer.

Byron Webb Romero, RN, MSN

Finished BSN at Lyceum of the Philippines University, and Master of Science in Nursing Major in Adult Health Nursing at the University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center. Currently working at Manila Doctors College of Nursing as a Team Leader for Level I and II, Lecturer for Professional Nursing Subjects, and also a Clinical Instructor.

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