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What Is Serous Papillary Adenocarcinoma?

By C.B. Fox
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A serous papillary adenocarcinoma, which is sometimes referred to as a papillary serous adenocarcinoma, is a type of cancerous growth usually found in the female reproductive system. These tumors usually form in the uterine lining or in the ovaries, though they can technically form out of other glandular lining in the abdomens of either men or women. A rare form of cancer, serous papillary adenocarcinoma is most likely to affect women who have completed menopause. It is known to be extremely aggressive and by the time it is discovered, it is often difficult to treat.

The cells found in serous papillary adenocarcinoma are serous, which means that they have a lot of mucus in them. They are papillary in shape, growing in finger-like structures. Adenocarcinomas develop out of the epithelium, a tissue found on the organs, lining the body cavities, and on the surface of the skin. The most common places to find tumors are in the uterus and ovaries, both of which are made up of epithelial tissue.

Though serous papillary adenocarcinoma is a rare form of cancer, it is also considered an aggressive cancer. It spreads quickly though the affected organ and can easily metastasize to nearby organs or systems. Early stages of this cancer are not always symptomatic, making it difficult to detect in its early stages. By the time serous papillary adenocarcinoma is found, it has often moved to other systems in a patient's body.

A patient who is diagnosed with this condition can often expect to undergo aggressive treatment. Whenever possible, tumors are surgically removed, which is easier to do if the cancer is caught early on. Radiation and chemotherapy are also used. Despite aggressive treatments, there is a significant chance that the cancer will return within five years. Though it is a relatively uncommon form of cancer, it accounts for a high percentage of deaths due to uterine or ovarian cancer.

In most cases, this type of cancer affects the female reproductive system. It is usually seen in older women who are past or well past menopause. Symptoms of serous papillary adenocarcinoma that affect the uterus or ovaries may include vaginal bleeding, a symptom that is obvious when a woman is no longer menstruating. Pain in the abdomen, swelling, tiredness, and unexplained fever can also indicate the presence this type of cancer.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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Discussion Comments
By anon994027 — On Jan 07, 2016

I am 71 and in very good health. I had moved to a new city and decided I needed to find doctors in case I needed them. I went to an OBGYN to discuss a dropped bladder. I also asked for a pap

smear. (At my age, you have to request one). It turned out that I needed to see an Oncology doctor. I had to have a hysterectomy.

I had two small cysts in my uterus that turned out to be papillary serous adenocarcioma. I have had one chemo treatment -- five to go.

I have had a very rough time with getting a port and dealing with the side effects of the chemo. I was told this was found in the very early stage. None was in my lymph nodes nor in the fluids

also sent to the lab. I looked this up because I was ready to give up on chemo. This article was very helpful and informative. Ask questions. Be assertive. It is our life and our body!

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