Adenocarcinoma and Asbestos
Adenocarcinoma is a cancer of the glands that can be found mostly in the lungs, colon, and urinary and genital areas. Although tobacco use is one of the primary risk factors for the disease, adenocarcinoma is the most common form of lung cancer for nonsmokers. Accordingly, it has been related to tissue scarring caused by inhaling carcinogens such as asbestos.
Once inhaled, asbestos may lodge itself in the lungs for many decades before causing any illness. Sitting there, the asbestos particles create scarring, which have been linked to several asbestos-related diseases, including adenocarcinoma. The initial symptoms of adenocarcinoma can include shortness of breath, trouble breathing, coughing, coughing up blood, and wheezing. As the disease progresses, a patient may also experience chest pain, difficulty swallowing, hoarseness, decreased appetite, and weight loss.
Adenocarcinoma Diagnosis and Treatment
An early diagnosis and choosing the best treatment options are key to having a good prognosis for adenocarcinoma. To determine the diagnosis, a doctor will perform a number of tests, including x-rays, MRIs, and biopsies.
Following an accurate diagnosis, most treatment plans include a combination of radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery to remove cancerous tissue. Because adenocarcinoma is one of the most common forms of lung cancer, making up 40 percent of all lung cancer diagnoses and killing approximately 160,000 Americans every year, a great deal of research and therapies are also being developed to help treat the disease. These treatments include stem cell therapy, hormone therapy, photodynamic light therapy, and chemoembolization, a procedure in which drugs are administered directly into the tumor. For those patients diagnosed during later stages, a doctor might recommend less-aggressive treatments designed to ease pain and discomfort.
If adenocarcinoma is diagnosed during Stage I or Stage II, prognosis is typically much better. The prognosis can also improve if a patient's overall health is good and the tumor is located in an area that is easily operable. The five-year survival rate is only 17 percent, but many people are diagnosed with very late stage adenocarcinoma because of how vague the symptoms can be. People who alert their doctor to the asbestos exposure and are diagnosed early tend to live longer, healthier lives.
If you have been affected by any of the symptoms of adenocarcinoma or have been exposed to asbestos, get in touch with your doctor right away. He or she will help you develop a regular health screening plan and an early diagnosis. Contact us too so we can help you stay informed about your condition.