Non-Small Cell Lung Cancers that Affect the Glandular Cells Lining the Air Passages Of the Lungs
What is Adenocarcinoma? Perhaps it is the first time you are hearing that word. Or may be you heard that your friend is suffering from it. Our aim is to make you not feel like that word came from another planet, but rather from planet earth. In this article we shall explore what Adenocarcinoma is, the people it has affected most in the past, and the causative agents for Adenocarcinoma. And, did you know that its symptoms may make you to at first think that you have Flu? We shall learn more on that in this article. We shall also look at diagnostic tools that reveal the progression of Adenocarcinoma, comparative staging tools to determine disease progression and the Adenocarcinoma treatment options.
Minute Glandular (adenoid) cells within Lung tissue emit secretions that keep the air passages moist and free of dirt. When these cells grow uncontrollably, they form cancerous tumors called Adenocarcinoma, (“adeno” referring to the glandular nature of the cells) and also damage your other healthy tissues. It is seen to occur in the outer tissue of the Lungs and accounts for nearly 50 percent of all Non-Small Cell Lung Cancers (NSCLC).
Historically, Adenocarcinoma has affected more women than men and forms the most observable cancer in the age group of under 45 years. It is also figuring more in younger women that are not habituated to smoking. The incidence of Adenocarcinoma has stolen a march over the other form of cancer referred to as Small-Cell Lung Cancer. This cancer can spread to your Lungs, Breasts, Prostate, Pancreas, Colon or Esophagus. That makes it risky to one's life. These are very critical organs in one's body and therefore quick treatment should be sought. In this article, we shall later look at the the treatment options available for this condition.
Causative Agents; What Provokes the Disease to Destroy Healthy Tissue
Everything that is existent has its origin. Adenocarcinoma is no exception. Here we look at its causative agents, i.e. what provokes the disease to destroy healthy tissue.
The biggest danger is the transmission of a defective cancer gene through succeeding generations from cancer afflicted siblings or distant relatives. The defective gene may lie dormant for years only to be activated by triggers like smoking, Radon gas contamination, and industrial Asbestos pollution.
The Early Warning Signals of NSCLC Adenocarcinoma that We Miss At Our Peril
The tragedy of Adenocarcinoma is that early signs of difficulty in breathing, hacking cough, exhaustion and chest pain are commonly mistaken for symptoms associated with the flu. If early detection is not achieved, the disease may grow progressively in the outer tissues till it reaches an advanced stage. In case you get a regular Colonoscopy done, your doctor might detect some cancer cells at an earlier stage. In the later stages, you may experience pain, bleeding, diarrhea or tiredness depending on the kind of cancer you have. Ninety nine percent (99%) of Prostate Cancers and/or 95% of Colon Cancers is typically an Adenocarcinoma, which makes it one of the most common types of cancer.
Diagnostic Tools that Reveal the Progression of Adenocarcinoma
The first and most critical diagnostic tool would be the X-ray which would disclose a haze of congestion within the soft tissue of the lungs, and possibly its epicenter – the lung tumor. A chest CT scan will reveal the finer details of the lung tumor and its exact location and size. A sample of the patient’s Sputum will be collected for Cytological analysis to confirm the type of cancer and its stage of development. The PET scan is a more advanced tool that gives the consulting physician an in-depth look at the cancerous tissue and what is happening at the molecular level. A Biopsy might be conducted where in an abnormal tissue is removed from the body and tested by a Pathologist. If cancer is detected, they check if it has spread to other parts.
Profiling of Adenocarcinoma DNA, RNA and proteins
One of the breakthroughs in cancer research has been the unravelling of the molecular structure of Adenocarcinoma cells. Once doctors have identified and mapped the genetic mutation that the cell has undergone, it is possible to target the tissue specifically using powerful drugs. The drugs lock on to receptors on the cancerous cell preventing the cell from interacting with healthy tissue.
Comparative staging tools to determine disease progression
Diagnostic tools have now been perfected to enable the physician to compare healthy tissue to abnormal Adenocarcinoma cells and discern the stage of development of cancer. This makes it possible to accurately determine how fast the cancer is growing and spreading:
Stage 1 – Cancer is localized in the glandular tissue of the lungs with higher secretory activity.
Stage 2 – Cancer starts appearing in the Lymph Nodes adjoining the Lung tissue in the outer areas.
Stage 3 – Cancer appears in the other Lung and may also have spread to healthy tissue touching the Lungs.
Stage 4 – Cancer has travelled through the Lymphatic System to metastasize (spread and grow) in other prominent organs. This would be the most advanced stage of Adenocarcinoma.
Adenocarcinoma Treatment Options
Though plenty of research is going on worldwide on isolating the tumor markers and drugs that could be useful in tackling Adenocarcinoma, present therapy options are limited to the following:
Surgery: Tissues which are cancerous and some other surrounding tissues are removed with the help of surgery. Modern technology has made it possible for minimum invasive surgeries to be performed. This reduces the healing time of wounds and also decreases the risk of treatment.
Chemotherapy: This is used to kill the cancer cells with drugs. Chemotherapy may be given only to a specific part or the entire body, depending on the spread on the disease. Other treatments like Radiation Therapy, Immuno-therapy and targeted therapy might be used along with Chemotherapy as a combination treatment.
Radiation therapy: Though used mostly with Chemotherapy, advanced radiation therapy might be used to detect specific cancerous tumors and treat them, while leaving the other healthy tissues.
Barely 20 percent make it past five years of cancer treatment, and early detection appears to offer the only hope of survival. Surgery remains a viable option only if Adenocarcinoma is in stage 1 and has not spread to the Lymphatic system.
Also, cancer treatments are followed by their own side effects. Chemotherapy can cause blisters on skin and make you lose hair. You might feel nausea and a constant need to throw up and often feel tired. Your doctor might prescribe a few drugs to help you control these side effects for some time. But your body starts deteriorating slowly if the cancer has crossed the first stage.
Cancer can be a horrid and painful experience for both the patient and care-giving relative. The best course is to open a channel of communication that allows sharing of information and discussion of treatment options. Family care-givers need to educate themselves in responding readily and effectively for reducing pain and suffering. Joining a cancer support group or forum is also an effective way of taking advantage of latest changes affecting the cancer community. Maybe talking to people who have faced cancer previously can give you more insight and strength to handle this deadly disease.