What Is Adenocarcinoma Chemotherapy?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 23 October 2019
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Adenocarcinoma chemotherapy is drug treatment for adenocarcinomas, cancers that arise in glandular tissue. This is a very common cancer that can arise in many parts of the body, ranging from the lining of the uterus to the saliva glands in the mouth. Treatment for such cancers can include a number of approaches. Chemotherapy may be recommended if a particular type of tumor is known to be responsive to it, in palliative cases, and in situations where a tumor is too large for surgery, but drugs may shrink it and make it more manageable.

The appropriate regimen of adenocarcinoma chemotherapy can depend on the nature of the cancer. When malignant growths are identified in a patient, samples are typically taken and sent to a pathologist. They can be reviewed to determine what kinds of cells are involved and to look for specific tumor markers that might provide indicators to help with treatment. Some cancers are more responsive to chemotherapy than others, and such testing is critical for appropriate tumor management.


If a patient has a form of cancer that may respond well to concurrent or adjuvant therapy, where chemotherapy is part of the overall treatment regimen, the care provider can prescribe an appropriate medication to use. In some cases, it may be possible to take oral adenocarcinoma chemotherapy, while in other instances, the patient needs treatment in an infusion facility where intravenous medications can be delivered. Sometimes a surgeon determines that a tumor is too large to remove, which would make surgery difficult. In these situations, the patient may take a course of drugs to aggressively attack and shrink the tumor with the goal of making it small enough to operate on.

Another reason to use adenocarcinoma chemotherapy is in palliative care. If a cancer is definitely terminal and unlikely to respond to treatment, the patient can still receive comfort care. This can include medications to control tumor growth and slow the spread of the cancer. These treatments are not designed to be specifically curative, but can help patients experience more comfort at the end of their lives. In palliative care, precautions are taken with dosing to determine an appropriate amount of medication with minimal side effects.

The best options for adenocarcinoma treatment can depend on the cancer and the patient’s overall situation. A young person with intestinal adenocarcinoma diagnosed early, for example, might benefit from extremely aggressive treatment, including adenocarcinoma chemotherapy, to attack the cancer. A much older adult with a metastatic cancer that has spread to neighboring structures might be better suited to a palliative regimen, because the risks of harsh treatment could be almost as bad as the cancer.


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