Key Points about Mucinous Adenocarcinoma
- Mucinous adenocarcinoma is a type of colorectal cancer that affects the skin or tissues that line the glands.
- Doctors use biopsy, imaging tests and physical exam to diagnose mucinous adenocarcinoma.
- Treatment for mucinous adenocarcinoma may include surgery, chemotherapy and/or hormone therapy.
Colorectal cancer is a type of cancer that affects the colon and rectum. Adenocarcinomas begin in the skin or tissues that line the glands and make up 95 percent of colorectal cancers. There are multiple types of adenocarcinomas, including mucinous adenocarcinoma (MAC). MAC cases comprise 10 to 15 percent of all colorectal cancer cases.
Mucinous adenocarcinoma causes
Mucinous adenocarcinoma occurs when mutations (changes) develop in the DNA of the skin cells or tissue of the glands in the colon or rectum.
Mucinous adenocarcinoma risk factors
The following factors may increase your risk for developing mucinous adenocarcinoma:
- Being African-American
- Being female
- Drinking an excessive amount of alcohol
- Eating a diet that is low in fiber and high in fat
- Having a family history of colorectal cancer
- Having Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
- Having undergone radiation therapy to your pelvis or abdomen
- Not getting regular physical activity
- Using any type of tobacco products
Mucinous adenocarcinoma symptoms
Signs and symptoms of mucinous adenocarcinoma can include:
- Bleeding from the rectum
- Bloody stool
- Cramps or pain in the abdomen
- Unintentional weight loss
Mucinous adenocarcinoma diagnosis
Your oncologist may use one or more of the following tests to diagnose this condition:
- Physical exam – your doctor will perform a complete physical exam – including asking questions about your health history, your symptoms and related risk factors.
- Biopsy – in this test, your doctor removes a biopsy (small tissue sample) from the suspicious area. This sample is sent to the laboratory, where a specialist closely checks the biopsy for abnormalities.
- Computerized tomography (CT) scan – this type of imaging test provides a 3-D image of the inside of the body that your doctor can use to determine if there is any cancer present. Your doctor may use a CT scan to determine if the cancer has spread beyond the initial site, as well as to stage the cancer.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – this type of imaging test uses high-powered magnets to create detailed images of the inside of your body. Your doctor can closely examine these images to look for any areas that could indicate cancer. Your doctor may use MRI to determine if the cancer has spread beyond the initial site, as well as to stage the cancer.
- Ultrasound – this type of imaging test uses sound waves to create images of the inside of your body. Your doctor can closely examine ultrasound images to look for any areas that could indicate cancer.
Mucinous adenocarcinoma treatment
Depending on your personal health history, the extent of your mucinous adenocarcinoma and other factors, your oncologist may recommend one or more of the following treatment options:
- Surgery – in most cases, your doctor will recommend a surgical procedure to remove the cancerous area. Your surgeon will work to preserve as much surrounding healthy tissue as possible.
- Chemotherapy – you may need to undergo chemotherapy to destroy any microscopic cancerous cells that couldn’t be removed surgically. During this treatment, medication is used to destroy cancerous cells. Chemotherapy can be taken via an oral (by mouth) pill or intravenously (through a vein).
- Hormone therapy – if you have hormone receptor-positive cancer, your oncologist may recommend you undergo hormone therapy.
When should I seek care?
If you experience any of these symptoms, start by voicing your concerns and symptoms to your primary care provider. From there, your doctor may suggest seeing an oncologist for more specialized treatment.