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What is Metastatic Adenocarcinoma?

Mary McMahon
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Metastatic adenocarcinoma is a cancer arising in glandular tissue that spreads to other regions of the body. This type of cancer can be highly aggressive in some cases, and there are a number of treatment options available to manage it. Patients diagnosed with metastatic adenocarcinoma typically work with an oncologist, a physician who focuses on cancer care, and they may see nuclear medicine specialists, as well as other medical specialists during the course of their treatment.

Adenocarcinomas can develop anywhere in the body. Glandular tissue is widespread everywhere from the salivary glands that lubricate the mouth to mucus-producing glands located in the intestines. When glandular cells start dividing and multiplying irregularly, they usually form a polyp, and the cancer can spread through the body as the tumor grows. Metastases can be localized or remote, and this cancer is capable of spreading all the way to the brain, especially in the case of adenocarcinoma originating in the lungs.

Symptoms of metastatic adenocarcinoma vary, depending on where the cancer is located and how far it spreads. A visible polyp may be present in some cases. Patients can experience symptoms like pain, tenderness, and bleeding or spotting. A medical imaging study may show an abnormal growth and this growth can be sampled in a biopsy procedure to learn more about it. At the time of the biopsy, scans may also be conducted to look for any signs of metastases, especially if the adenocarcinoma is in a location known for producing very aggressive tumors.

Removal of the primary tumor is usually recommended, and if the metastases are accessible, they can be taken out as well. Radiation and chemotherapy are also used in metastatic adenocarcinoma treatment to kill any remaining cancer cells and prevent a recurrence. These measures are sometimes curative and the patient may experience a complete recovery. In other instances, they fail to adequately address the cancer, and the patient will eventually die as the cancer spreads throughout the body and grows larger, interfering with organ function.

Patients with a salivary adenocarcinoma diagnosis should ask their physicians about the available treatment options and the prognosis with different treatments. Second opinions can be beneficial for patients who want more information, and it can be helpful to see someone who specializes in treating adenocarcinomas, as that physician has access to the latest information, along with extensive experience. It may be possible to join a clinical trial to access a new and experimental treatment, presenting more options to patients with stubborn metastatic adenocarcinoma.

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Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a TheHealthBoard researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

By anon311395 — On Jan 01, 2013

@anon245589: I found the article very interesting. My father is diagnosed with metastatic adenocarcinoma. Can you share the mode of treatment and duration, if it's not too personal, and in which city this facility is available, etc.

By anon281148 — On Jul 22, 2012

I'm from the Philippines. My mother just newly diagnosed with unknown metastatic adenocarcinoma. It all started with a node enlargement on the supraclavicular area. Now, we are lost with what is really the exact location. CEA is 12. The colonoscopy and endoscopy are clear, and chest X-rays are normal. Is there anybody who can give suggestions? We are lost!

By anon245589 — On Feb 06, 2012

My mother is suffering from a metastatic adenocarcinoma brain tumour. She has been operated for her brain tumour and she is fine, but she has the same kind of tumour in her left lung. She is undergoing homeopathic treatment and is recovering.

By SarahSon — On May 16, 2011

I had an uncle who was diagnosed with metastatic lung cancer and his survival rate was about 12 months. He had been a long time smoker, so don't know how much that had to do with it. Does anybody know if that could have played a part?

By Mykol — On May 04, 2011

Just the word 'cancer' is scary enough to think about, and then to think that it has spread to different parts of the body makes the blow even harder. My Dad had metastasized cancer in his colon several years ago.

He had surgery to remove the tumor but did not have to have any radiation and is still doing well. I think if you have the chance to be part of a clinical trial it would be well worth it.

Anybody have positive results with a clinical trial or experimental treatment?

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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