Lung adenocarcinoma is the most common type of lung cancer in the United States. It makes up about
Lung adenocarcinoma falls into a group of cancers called non-small cell lung cancers. They’re named for the way their cells appear under a microscope.
In this article, we take a look at how lung adenocarcinoma is treated, what causes it, and how to recognize its symptoms.
Lung adenocarcinoma doesn’t usually cause obvious symptoms in the early stages. The tumor may develop over quite some time until you experience general symptoms such as:
- breathing issues
- chest pain
- coughing up blood
- finger clubbing
- joint or bone pain
- persistent cough
- repeated pneumonia
- shortness of breath
- swollen lymph nodes
- trouble swallowing
- unexplained weight loss
Most of these symptoms can have many potential causes. It’s a good idea to visit a healthcare professional any time you develop any of these symptoms to rule out lung cancer.
Late stage symptoms
As lung cancers progress, symptoms tend to get worse and lead to a rapid decline in quality of life. In the late stages, lung cancer may cause symptoms such as:
It’s not entirely clear why some people develop lung adenocarcinoma and others don’t. Researchers think that a combination of environmental and genetic factors contribute to its development.
Smoking or exposure to smoke is a primary risk factor
Smoking cigarettes is the greatest risk factor for developing any lung cancer. About
Other risk factors for lung adenocarcinoma
Other risk factors include:
- Family history. Your risk of developing adenocarcinoma is higher if a close family member develops it. Some genetic markers, such as variations in chromosome 5p15.33, are linked to a higher risk of lung adenocarcinoma.
- Sex. Adenocarcinoma is
more commonin women than men.
- Age. The most common age range for diagnosis with lung adenocarcinoma is
80 to 84. However, adenocarcinoma occurs more often in young people than other types of lung cancer.
- Exposure to pollution. A
2014 research reviewfound that exposure to pollution is linked to the development of lung adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.
- Exposure to occupational hazards. Exposure to the following occupational hazards is linked to the development of adenocarcinoma:
- secondhand smoke
- diesel exhaust
In a 2016 study, researchers compared the risk factors of developing lung adenocarcinoma with lung squamous cell carcinoma. They found that compared with people who have squamous cell carcinoma, people with adenocarcinoma were more likely to:
Treatment options for lung adenocarcinoma depend on factors such as your overall health, the stage of your cancer, and your treatment preference.
The following treatments may be used alone or in combination with other treatments:
- Surgery. Surgery is often recommended for early stage tumors that haven’t spread to other parts of your body. A lobectomy, or the removal of an entire lobe of your lung, is considered the most effective surgery.
- Radiation therapy. Radiation therapy uses concentrated beams of energy to damage the genetic information of cancer cells and keep them from replicating.
- Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is a drug therapy that uses chemicals to kill cancer cells as well as healthy cells in your body that replicate quickly. Chemotherapy is often administered with radiation therapy if cancer spreads beyond your lungs.
- Targeted therapies. Targeted drug therapies specifically kill cancer cells rather than killing all quickly dividing cells in your body like chemotherapy does.
- Immunotherapy. Immunotherapy stimulates your immune system to fight cancer cells. Four types of immunotherapy drugs are Food and Drug Administration approved for treating non-small cell lung cancers.
- Angiogenesis inhibitors. Angiogenesis inhibitors help keep tumors from creating new blood vessels and starve cancer cells of oxygen and essential nutrients.