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Adenocarcinoma Treatment

A subtype of carcinoma, adenocarcinomas impact internal organs.

Consulting a doctor for adenocarcinoma treatment should be a patient's first step. [© Jupter Images, 2009]
© Jupter Images, 2009
Consulting a doctor for adenocarcinoma treatment should be a patient's first step.

Adenocarcinoma is not a single form of cancer, but a subtype of carcinoma, a class of cancers that begins in the lining layer of some internal organs. Adenocarcinomas are a type of malignant tumor that begins in the gland-like, or secretary cells that line these internal organs. One can have adenocarcinoma of the stomach, breast, lung, pancreas, cervix, bladder, uterus, prostate and anus, among other organs. Prognosis and treatment vary depending on which organ is affected and to what degree, but there are general treatment options for all forms.

Common Adenocarcinomas

Some breast cancers are adenocarcinomas, occurring either in the lobules or the ducts of the breast. Most breast cancers are also invasive, meaning they spread beyond this layer of cells into the deeper tissues.

Adenocarcinoma of the lung has become the most frequently diagnosed lung malignancy during the last 50 years. National Cancer Institute statistics show that from the years 2000-2003, this form of cancer made up 47 percent of the lung cancers diagnosed, a striking rise from 1950, when it constituted only 5 percent of lung cancer cases.

Prostate cancer, a generally slow-growing form of cancer affecting only males, is almost always an adenocarcinoma; according to the College of American Pathologists, 95 percent of the prostate cancers diagnosed are adenocarcinomas.

Adenocarcinoma Treatment Options

The most common treatment options for adenocarcinoma include surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, or some combination of these treatments.

Surgery: Surgery is often the most effective cancer treatment, especially in cases where the cancer remains confined to a specific area. Some common types of cancer treatment surgery include:

  • Preventive surgery: Removes tissue that is likely to become cancerous in the future
  • Diagnostic surgery: Removes a tissue sample to determine if cancer is present
  • Staging surgery: Attempts to determine how far a cancer has spread
  • Curative surgery: Removes cancerous tissue entirely
  • Debulking surgery: Removes as much of the cancer as possible


Radiation Therapy: Radiation therapy, also called X-ray therapy, uses high-energy particles and waves to kill or damage quickly dividing cancer cells. High doses of radiation are delivered to the body, in most cases locally, so that only the area affected by the cancer is treated. Some forms of cancer respond better than others to radiation therapy.

Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is the use of medicine -- taken orally or through injection -- to treat disease. There are more than 100 types of medicines used for cancer treatment in chemotherapy, and the type and dosing used will depend on the form and stage of the cancer. Like radiation therapy, chemotherapy targets cells that divide quickly, so that cancer cells, which multiply more quickly than most of the body's cells, will be damaged and many other cells spared. Unlike radiation therapy, chemotherapy affects the entire body, so it can be useful in cases where the cancer has spread, but it also can have more side effects on noncancerous cells throughout the body.

In order to find the right adenocarcinoma treatment, it's best to fully understand the specific type of cancer, as well as the symptoms, risks and side effects. Speak to a doctor for more information.

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