Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors
Adenocarcinoma of the small intestine is a form of cancerthat occurs in the part of the intestine that descends from the stomach. It is arare form of cancer.
What is going on in the body?
The small intestine plays a key role in the digestionof foods. Many nutrients are absorbed by the small intestine as foodpasses through it. Adenocarcinoma occurs in the tissues that line thesmall intestine. It causes the cells in these tissues to grow and multiplyout of control. These cells form a tumor along the wall of the intestine.This tumor then begins to invade the tissues around it.
In time, the tumor will grow through the intestinal wall. Thetumor then goes on to invade structures around the intestine. Cancer cellscan break off from the tumor and metastasize. This means the cancer is spread through thebloodstream. Cancer cells can also spread through the system that drainsinto lymph nodes.
What are the causes and risks of the disease?
The risk factors for this type of cancer arenot well defined. Diet may play a role,especially a diet high in nitrates. Some other risk factors may include:
Symptoms & Signs
What are the signs and symptoms of the disease?
Adenocarcinoma of the small intestine generally causes vaguesymptoms. In some cases, symptoms may not occur until the tumor islarge and blocks part or all of the small intestine. Somesymptoms include:
The person can have symptoms from specific organ damage ifthe cancer has metastasized.
Diagnosis & Tests
How is the disease diagnosed?
Diagnosis of adenocarcinoma begins with a medical historyand physical exam. An upper GIX-ray study will usually show a mass pressing on the intestine. A small tubecalled an endoscope can be passed into the intestine to help view the mass.The tube has a light and a camera on the end of it. This allows the doctor tosee the inside of the intestine.
A small piece of the mass is removed and examined. This smallsample is called a biopsy.This biopsy helps to confirm that the mass is cancerous.
Prevention & Expectations
What can be done to prevent the disease?
There is no known way to prevent adenocarcinoma of the intestine.
What are the long-term effects of the disease?
Adenocarcinoma of the small intestine is fatal if it is nottreated with success.
What are the risks to others?
Adenocarcinoma poses no risk to others.
Treatment & Monitoring
What are the treatments for the disease?
The primary treatment for adenocarcinoma of the smallintestine is surgery. The doctor operates to remove the tumor andthe affected part of the intestine. Tissue near the tumor, including lymphnodes, will also be removed. Often, this may be the only treatment.
What are the side effects of the treatments?
Surgery can cause bleeding, infection, or allergic reaction to anesthesia.Removing a part of the small intestine may cause food to pass tooquickly through the digestive system. The person may have diarrheaand cramping. Nutrients present in the food cannot be well absorbed if thefood passes through too quickly. Without a healthy diet, theperson may become malnourished and lose weight.
What happens after treatment for the disease?
Many times, adenocarcinoma of the intestine is until the diseaseis a late stage. The cancer may have alreadymetastasized toother organs. If the cancer comes back or gets worse,chemotherapymay help to improve the person’s quality of life. Once this type of cancerspreads beyond the small intestine, it cannot be cured.
How is the disease monitored?
The person will be monitored closely usingabdominal CT scansand special X-rays to check if the cancer has come back or spread.Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to thedoctor.
Article type: xmedgeneral