Cancer that forms in the mucus-secreting glands is referred to as adenocarcinoma, according to Cancer Treatment Centers of America. Up to 99 percent of all prostate cancers, 95 percent of colorectal cancers, most non-small cell lung cancers and certain pancreatic and esophageal cancers are classified as adenocarcinomas.
Adenocarcinoma can be diagnosed with a biopsy, which involves removing an abnormal sample of tissue from the body and then examining it microscopically to determine if it is cancerous. A CT scan, which is an X-ray that creates 3-D pictures of the tissue, can also be done. An MRI scan can create cross-sectioned images of the area affected by the suspected adenocarcinoma to make a definitive diagnosis, notes the Cancer Treatment Centers of America.
Treatment for adenocarcinoma is based on where the cancer is located, the health of the patient and what stage the cancer has progressed to before it is diagnosed. Surgery is the general course of treatment; generally, the cancerous tissue and surrounding tissue is removed. Radiation therapy may be used in conjunction with surgery to kill off cancer cells or remnants left behind following surgical excision of the cancer. Chemotherapy may also be added to radiation therapy to eliminate cancer cells. The prognosis for adenocarcinoma is affected by treatment type, general patient health and other factors.