Adenocarcinoma of the Lung

The most common type of lung cancer is non-small cell lung cancer, and the most common subtype of non-small cell lung cancer is adenocarcinoma, which accounts for approximately 40% of all diagnoses. A malignancy that can form in glandular cells throughout the body, adenocarcinoma can affect the lungs as well as the prostate, pancreas, esophagus, colon or rectum. In the lungs, most adenocarcinoma tumors form in the alveoli, which are tiny, balloon-like sacs that help pump air during the breathing process.

What Causes Adenocarcinoma?

Within the general medical community, the precise causes of lung adenocarcinoma are not yet fully understood. Through extensive research, scientists have identified several risk factors, including:

  • Exposure to tobacco smoke
  • Radon gas
  • Asbestos
  • Silica
  • Diesel exhaust
  • Air pollution

With that said, smoking is confirmed to be the leading risk factor—by far—for all types of lung cancer.

What Are the Symptoms of Adenocarcinoma?

Lung cancer is often silent in its earliest stages. If lung adenocarcinoma symptoms occur, they may include:

  • Persistent coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • An unusually raspy voice
  • A cough that produces blood
  • Frequent respiratory infections
  • Exhaustion
  • Unexplained weight loss

How Is Adenocarcinoma of the Lung Diagnosed?

If lung cancer is suspected, a physician will typically perform a physical examination and order one or more tests to confirm the diagnosis and, if cancer is found, determine whether it has spread beyond the lungs. The diagnostic process, which can vary based on a patient’s medical history, symptoms and overall health, may include:

  • Imaging scans
  • Blood work
  • Tissue biopsies

How Is Lung Adenocarcinoma Treated?

A lobectomy, which involves the surgical removal of an entire lobe of a lung, is usually the preferred treatment approach for adenocarcinoma when it is detected early, confined to one lung and can be safely and completely removed.

Other surgical options include:

  • A wedge resection
  • Segmentectomy
  • Pneumonectomy
  • Sleeve resection

Some patients also receive chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, angiogenesis inhibitors or a combination of treatments.

The multidisciplinary team of pulmonary and lung cancer experts at Tampa General Hospital specializes in the treatment of pulmonary and lung conditions, including adenocarcinoma. Our surgeons perform the most complex thoracic procedures in the state of Florida, helping to ensure the best possible outcome for each patient.