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What Is Mucinous Cystadenoma?

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  • Written By: H. Colledge
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 28 July 2014
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A mucinous cystadenoma is a type of tumor which is typically benign, or non-cancerous, and which may develop in the ovaries, pancreas or, rarely, the appendix. In the ovary, mucinous cystadenomas are the most frequently occurring large tumors, while in the pancreas, they are not common, but there is a risk that they could eventually change to become malignant, or cancerous. Mucinous means mucus-producing, a cyst is a space full of fluid, and an adenoma is a tumor arising from glandular tissue. So, these types of tumors consist of a collection of spaces, full of mucus-like material, which have developed from glandular cells. A mucinous cystadenoma may be treated by surgical removal in order to prevent future complications.

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When a mucinous cystadenoma develops in the form of an ovarian tumor, it is more frequently found in women between the ages of 30 and 50. Unlike the other tumor type described in the cystadenoma grouping system, which is known as a serous cystadenoma, a mucinous tumor is only thought to be malignant, or cancerous, in around 5 percent of cases. In contrast, almost a third of serous cystadenomas, which arise from serous glandular cells that produce a watery fluid, are thought to be malignant. Symptoms which may be associated with a large mucinous cystadenoma include aches and pains in the lower back or abdomen, an abdominal swelling which can be felt, and a need to empty the bladder more often. If a tumor twists or ruptures, the patient may experience more severe pain and require immediate surgery.

In the pancreas, mucinous cystadenomas are much more likely to occur in women, with only around 20 percent being found in men. There may be no symptoms until the tumor is large enough to press on surrounding tissues, when problems such as upper abdominal pain and jaundice may be experienced. A mucinous cystadenoma in the appendix is very rare, and it may be found during a routine scan, or it could occasionally cause symptoms resembling appendicitis, such as pain in the lower right abdomen. Sometimes, such a tumor in the appendix can rupture, causing a condition known as pseudomyxoma peritonei. In pseudomyxoma peritonei, tumor cells that have become malignant spread through the abdomen, producing mucus and causing problems such as abdominal swelling and pressure on organs.

Diagnosis of a mucinous cystadenoma generally involves imaging scans, using technology such as computerized tomography (CT) and ultrasound. Surgery to remove tumors may be carried out using conventional techniques or, in some cases, laparoscopic methods, where smaller incisions are required. The outlook for someone with a mucinous cystadenoma is usually positive because tumors are removed before they can cause complications due to increasing size, or malignant change.

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anon336591
Post 5

I was informed that I had a mucinous cystadenoma on my left ovary back in 2010. I thought that it was just a simple cyst. I say this because I am now told that I need to have surgery asap because I have another one of the same tumors on the same ovary. I am really unsettled why I am getting another tumor. I am only 25. This will be my fifth laproscopy the other three surgeries were for normal cysts and endo. They also want my appendix out. Anyone have anything they can help me with any similarities or anything?

anon333783
Post 4

@Upasna: Please don't put any more stress on yourself than you have to. I had a very large mucinous cystademoma and, though it was too big to remove laparoscopically (roughly 13 inches x 14 inches) and the surgery wasn't fun, in about eight weeks I was back to normal and weighed 30 pounds less. Plus, I no longer had to live with the chronic pain I'd been experiencing. Granted, I lost one ovary and they took my appendix, but considering the size of mine, I definitely got the "best case scenario".

Yours is at a stage where it's very manageable, you probably won't lose the ovary and the surgery will be minimally invasive. Even if they did have to take an ovary, you can still have children if you'd like to. Also, most of these are benign.

The most important things are to be proactive, take care of it right away before it can get any larger and stay positive. I know how scary this can be and I'll hold good thoughts for you.

Stay strong!

anon328646
Post 3

I'm sorry to hear this. I have also found that I have this on my pancreas. My appointment is Tuesday.

upasna
Post 2

I am a 20 year old woman and I just found out that I have a mucinous cystadenoma and I was reading on the web that mucinous cystadenoma is more common between the ages of 30-50. Since I'm only 20 and have this, it is hard to believe and I don't know what to do. The doctor told me that I need a laparoscopy and it is on my right ovary and is 11mm. I don't know what to do. I need help.

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