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Adenocarcinoma of the Lung – Symptoms, Treatment and Prognosis

Adenocarcinoma is a non-small cell lung cancer that is more commonly found in women and non-smokers, and it is the most common type of lung cancer for people under 45. Unfortunately, the incidence of adenocarcinoma of the lung is on the increase in the UK and it is now one of the most common types of lung cancer. Adenocarcinoma accounts for approximately 50% of all non-small cell lung cancers and begins in the outer sections of the lung (although it can occur as central lesions) which can make it difficult to detect in the early stages of the disease. It develops from lung cells that produce mucus and, unlike many other types of lung cancer, it is more likely to remain in one area giving better opportunities for treatment.

Adenocarcinoma of the lung symptoms

Because adenocarcinoma of the lung develops in the outer periphery of the lung, it can be more difficult to detect the disease in the early stages. Symptoms common in other lung cancers such as a chronic cough or coughing up blood are less likely to be detected with adenocarcinoma. Symptoms more likely to present include:

  • Fatigue
  • Mild shortness of breath
  • Pain in back, shoulder or chest

The vague symptoms and the fact this type of lung cancer occurs commonly in non-smokers really highlights the need for early detection to ensure the best possible outcome before the cancer has spread.

Adenocarcinoma of the lung treatment

Treatment of adenocarcinoma of the lung will depend on how far the lung cancer has progressed i.e. what stage it is at. If the disease is caught in the early stages before it has spread outside of the lung, surgery offers a potential cure. If however, the disease has spread then other treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy may be used. Newer targeted therapies that have fewer side effects than traditional chemotherapy such as Erlotinib and Gefitinib are also now becoming available.

Adenocarcinoma of the lung prognosis

As with any prognosis, the survival rate after 5 years depends heavily on the stage of the cancer so early detection is critical for better outcomes. Overall, the 5 year survival rate for adenocarcinoma of the lung is approximately 15%.

Lung cancer screening

If you are worried about adenocarcinoma of the lung or any other type of lung cancer and think you may have symptoms or be at risk, please contact us to arrange a LungCheck. The Lung Check lung cancer screening service is a quick and easy way to detect lung cancer in the early stages and will additionally assess your risk. More information can also be found on our LungCheck lung cancer screening FAQ page.

Further information about lung cancer

If you would like more information about lung cancer, please see our lung cancer information page or contact us.

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