When to See a Urologist for Adenocarcinoma

Adenocarcinoma is a type of cancer that originates in the body’s glandular or secretory cells. These cells normally line internal organs in which they produce and release substances in the body. The secretions include mucus, breast milk, semen, digestive juices, and other bodily fluids. Adenocarcinoma accounts for a majority of the cases for the following types of cancers:

  • Prostate cancer – Between 95% to 99% of all prostate cancer tumors originate in the glands and ducts of the prostate.
  • Colorectal cancer – Up to 95% of colorectal cancer cases are adenocarcinomas. The colon is rich in mucus-secreting glands where the malignancy originates.
  • Pancreatic cancer – More than 80% of pancreatic cancers are ductal adenocarcinomas that originate in the pancreas’ ducts.
  • Breast cancer – Around 73% of breast cancers begin in the ducts and lobules of the mammary organs.
  • Esophageal cancer – Adenocarcinomas of the esophagus begin in the glandular cells in the lower portion of the esophagus.
  • Lung cancer – Adenocarcinoma of the lung is a common type of lung cancer that accounts for about 40% of lung cancer cases in the United States. It forms in the mucus-producing glands found in peripheral lung tissues.

Do you need to see your urologist?

If you suspect that you have adenocarcinoma of the prostate because you are experiencing abnormal symptoms or if you have a history of prostate cancer in your family, it is important that you consult a urologist who can order the medical tests that you might need.

The following are important signs or symptoms that should be monitored by a urologist:

  • Blood in urine – Prostate cancer is one of the many possible causes of hematuria, a condition that causes the urinary tract to release blood cells into the urine.
  • Elevated prostate-specific antigen level – As men age, their risk of developing prostate cancer increases. The prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test is a form of blood test that can detect the level of PSA in a patient’s blood. PSA is often elevated in men with prostate cancer, and that’s why it is usually recommended by urologists for asymptomatic men.

Take note, however, that other factors like benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlargement of the prostate), prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate), medicines (such as testosterone replacement therapy), and even activities like ejaculation and bicycle riding may affect PSA levels.

  • Any type of prostate abnormality – If a routine medical examination like digital (finger) rectal exam has revealed abnormalities in your prostate, your doctor will most likely refer you to a urologist, who can then order additional tests (e.g. transrectal ultrasound and biopsy) to determine if the problem is cancer or something else entirely. Examples of abnormalities are swelling, lumps, or hard spots on the prostate.

Risk factors for prostate cancer and prostate adenocarcinoma

If you are at an increased risk for prostate cancer, you might also consider getting tested regularly to monitor the health of your prostate. Men who belong in the following groups are considered high-risk individuals:

  • Older men – According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 7.52% of men who are 70 years old today, and 6.26% of those who are 60 years old today will get cancer over the next 10 years. Compare this to only 2.26% of men who are 50 years old, 0.33% of men who are 40 years old, and 0.01% of men who are 30 years old.
  • African American men – In the United States, prostate cancer death rate is highest among African American men at 159.7 per 100,000 individuals. The figures are 64.4 for whites, 47.6 for Hispanics, 37.2 for Native Americans, and only 26.2 for Asians and Pacific Islanders.
  • Men with a family history of prostate cancer – An individual whose father or brother has had prostate cancer is twice as likely to develop the disease himself. If the family members had their cancers when they were young or if three or more family members had it in the past, the risk further increases.

When it comes to your prostate health, it pays to be vigilant and to seek medical help, especially when you need it most. At Providence Saint John’s Health Center, we have excellent clinicians who make use of the latest state-of-the-art medical equipment and facilities, allowing us to provide our patients the highest quality diagnostic and treatment services.

If you live in the city of Santa Monica or in surrounding areas in the Westside, South Bay, and San Fernando Valley, please don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment or to visit our health center today.


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