Important Facts to Know About Adenocarcinoma of the Lungs
Adenocarcinoma is a type of lung cancer that usually develops within the outer portion or the periphery of the lungs. In this condition, the symptoms will start to appear after it has already progressed to its advanced stage. During the initial stages of adenocarcinoma, the condition may appear as asymptomatic, thus resulting to late diagnosis of the condition. Although the growth of the cancer cells usually take place on the outer lining, the uncontrolled division of cells may occur within the tiny alveolar sacs, where the process of exchanging oxygen and carbon dioxide is taking place.
While smokers are at high risk of developing this condition, this can also affect nonsmokers. In some cases of adenocarcinoma of the lungs, the patient is genetically predisposed to the condition. This can also be due to excessive exposure to radon, asbestos and other environmental pollutants like copper, diesel exhaust, cadmium, nickel and aromatic polycyclic hydrocarbons. An individual diagnosed with such condition is usually observed with various symptoms, which include appetite loss, fatigue, shortness of breath, voice changes, wheezing and body aches.
Prognosis and Survival Rate of Adenocarcinoma of the Lungs
As mentioned above, this condition is asymptomatic during its early stages. Oftentimes, the condition is incidentally diagnosed during a routine medical examination that includes an X-ray exam of the chest. Aside from that, the condition can also be diagnosed when a blood test, bronchoscopy, sputum analysis and lung biopsy is performed. When diagnosed with this condition, a CT scan and/or PET scan can also be administered to determine the condition. These diagnostic procedures are helpful in determining the extent of the condition as well as the cancer stage.
The treatment options available for adenocarcinoma of the lungs depend on the severity of the symptoms and of the stage of the lung cancer. The physician will decide for the most suitable treatment option once a thorough check of the patient’s overall health condition is done and a combination of treatments might be recommended. In case the condition is diagnosed at its early stage, a surgical procedure might be performed in order to remove the growing cancer. These procedures may include lobectomy, wedge resection and Pneumonectomy.
In case a surgical procedure is impossible to perform, radiation therapy and chemotherapy will be applied in order to destroy the cells that are malignant. The chance of recovery or the prognosis of the condition also depends on the stage of the cancer and the overall health of the patient. The prognosis can be considered dismal incase the cancer has already spread to the lymph nodes within the mediastinum or the chest wall. The 5-year survival rate of the condition is at 15% for those diagnosed with adenocarcinoma.
Generally, the prognosis of adenocarcinoma of the lungs is poor. However, life expectancy can be improved if the condition is diagnosed at an early stage. The above-mentioned treatment options are all helpful in controlling the spread of the disease, but the patient will still require palliative care. The support of the members of the family is still necessary to strengthen the patient’s emotional capabilities and be able to manage the condition and improve the quality of life.