It’s estimated that 2010 saw over 51,000 people die from colorectal cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. Of those deaths, around 98 percent were the result of colorectal cancers classified as adenocarcinomas. Though this one category of colorectal cancers dominates the statistics, it’s important to note some of the distinctions among the cancers within this group.

Mucinous adenocarcinoma

What differentiates this sub-classification of colorectal adenocarcinoma is that the cancer originates in cells which produce mucin, which is the main component of what we call mucus, according to the National Cancer Institute. It’s possible that that mucus allows cancerous cells to spread faster than they normally would, and hence this form of colorectal cancer is viewed as relatively aggressive.

Signet-ring cell carcinoma

This form of colorectal cancer is typically highly malignant. It received its name from its appearance under microscopic examination, as the nuclei of the cells primarily slide to one side, giving off the appearance of a signet ring.

Small cell carcinoma

Small cell carcinoma of the colon and rectum is a rare, aggressive form of adenocarcinoma. The long-term prognosis for those diagnosed with this form of adenocarcinoma is typically poor. Only about 1.5 percent of all colorectal carcinomas fall under this classification.

Medullary carcinoma

This form of colorectal cancer is also sometimes referred to as large cell carcinoma with minimal differentiation. Older women have proven to be at the highest risk for this type of colorectal adenocarcinoma.

Neuroendoctrine carcinoma

About 4 percent of all colorectal cancers fall under this classification. Unfortunately, this disease is typically diagnosed at relatively advanced stages. Because of that, survival rates aren’t as high as they should be. Occasionally, aggressive cases of neuroendoctrine carcinoma can be misdiagnosed as carcinoid tumors. Since carcinoid tumors are known for progressing and spreading relatively slowly, a misdiagnosis can result in much more time for the neuroendoctrine carcinoma to develop and metastasize before the error is noticed.

The majority of colon and rectal cancers develop from adenomatous polyps, which can easily be detected through scopes and x-rays. Since the polyps are typically benign initially, regular screening should be able to catch anything cancerous while it’s still in its earliest stages.

If you or a loved one has colorectal cancer and feel it may have been detected late or misdiagnosed by a Georgia doctor or medical professional, please request a copy of our free book, I Have Cancer…Should It Have Been Caught Earlier?, or contact an experienced Atlanta medical malpractice and colorectal cancer lawyer at the Dover Law Firm at 770-518-1133 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your situation.