What is Medullary Adenocarcinoma of the Colon?Medullary adenocarcinoma of the colon is a rare and distinct type of colorectal cancer. It is characterized by a specific growth pattern and cellular appearance, with cells that are poorly differentiated yet have a lower rate of metastasis compared to other types of colon adenocarcinomas. This type of cancer is more commonly observed in elderly patients and often has a genetic component, being associated with microsatellite instability and Lynch syndrome.
SymptomsSymptoms of medullary adenocarcinoma of the colon can be similar to other colorectal cancers and may include:
- Changes in bowel habits, such as diarrhea, constipation, or a change in stool consistency.
- Presence of blood in the stool or rectal bleeding.
- Abdominal pain or discomfort.
- Unexplained weight loss.
- Fatigue and weakness.
- In some cases, there may be no symptoms, and the cancer is detected during routine screening.
Disease Aetiology (Causes)The exact cause of medullary adenocarcinoma of the colon is not fully understood. However, its association with microsatellite instability suggests a genetic component. It is often linked with Lynch syndrome, a hereditary condition that increases the risk of colon and other types of cancer.
DiagnosisDiagnosing medullary adenocarcinoma of the colon typically involves:
- Colonoscopy: To visually inspect the colon and obtain a biopsy of any suspicious areas.
- Imaging Studies: Such as CT scans, MRI, or PET scans, to assess the extent of the disease.
- Biopsy: A tissue sample is examined under a microscope for a definitive diagnosis.
- Genetic Testing: To check for microsatellite instability and potential hereditary conditions like Lynch syndrome.
TreatmentTreatment for medullary adenocarcinoma of the colon may include:
- Surgery: The primary treatment, typically involves the removal of the affected portion of the colon and adjacent lymph nodes.
- Chemotherapy: Used post-surgery, especially if there are risk factors for recurrence or metastasis.
- Targeted Therapy and Immunotherapy: There may be options depending on the genetic characteristics of the tumour.
- Radiation Therapy: Less commonly used for this type of colon cancer but may be considered in specific circumstances.