Mucinous Adenocarcinoma: a bad 22 letter word and how we came to know it.

Here is an overview of where we started and where we are now:
Dad had some abdominal pain that became progressively worse in the beginning of July, 2016. This culminated in a trip to Banner Thunderbird hospital in Glendale late on July 10th, Sunday night. After a few tests and exams we were told Monday that Dad had some growths in his lower intestine and that they needed to perform a laparoscopic inspection and biopsy.
Biopsy 1 of 2 revealed that the growths in Dads lower intestine were malignant.
The Oncologist diagnosed Dad with Stage IV Terminal Cancer, deemed to be Mucinous Adenocarcinoma – but was unable to determine exactly where it originated. Whether the cancer is Appendix based or Colon or Rectal, the paths all converge as the cancer begins to spread. This is where Dad is at. Regardless of the final diagnosis and determination of origin, the cancer has reached the point of convergence on a fairly standardized path of progression. This is why the Oncologist is able to provide initial treatment suggestions and overal prognosis.
A mucinous adenocarcinoma is a type of cancer that produces what is called “mucin”, which is the main component of mucus. They begin to form on the lining of certain internal and external organs, and in Dads case this is presenting in his lower intestine.

“Adeno-“ means “gland”. Glands commonly secrete things in the body (endocrine glands) or outside of the body (exocrine glands). For example, mucous and sweat are secreted by exocrine glands.

A “Carcinoma” is a malignant tumor that starts in epithelial cells. If you put the 2 words together (Adeno-Carcinoma) you will see that what they mean are malignant tumors that start in the epithelial cells lining endocrine or exocrine glands.

Now to the term “mucinous”. Mucinous simply means “lots of mucous”.

So to bring it all together, a Mucinous Adencarcinoma is a malignant tumor that originates in epithelial cells on exocrine glands with lots of mucous.

It has been suggested by experts that the presence of mucouse can help a cancer spread faster through the body. This means that mucinous adencarcinoma’s are considered quite aggressive cancers compared to regular adencarcinomas and so are also harder to treat.

Mucino adenocarcinoma account for 10-15% of all adenocarcinomas.

The oncologist is suggesting aggressive treatment to combat this aggressive form of cancer and believes that this style of treatment can provide Dad with another two years of life. As with all estimations, it is just that. There are many newer treatments that have been successful in delaying and treating and leading to remission.

Biopsy 2 of 2 revealed that the cancer is colon based, which means it is present in that area of the abdomen so it could also include or stem from the appendix.
Dad is experiencing some stomach distention and discomfort, especially since the exploratory laparoscopy.  He has had several X-rays and an MRI. These confirm that his bowels are not moving , which is the most pressing issue. Dad is scheduled for a surgery on Monday, July 18th, 2016. During this surgery a port will be placed which will be used for chemotherapy, and the surgeon with proceed with one of several options to resolve the bowel issue.
The team at the hospital has been great, especially a few nurses, Chelsea, Shawn, and Becky, who have been a Godsend. We are continuing to research, learn, and explore options for the best outcome moving forward.
We take this opportunity to reflect on the precious, fleeting moments we all encounter on a daily basis and recognize the beauty and gift that each holds. Please hug your kids, spouses, parents, friends, and loved ones. Smile. Enjoy the moment. Live life.
With the utmost love from the Harless family,
– Richard

14 thoughts on “Mucinous Adenocarcinoma: a bad 22 letter word and how we came to know it.”

  1. Kevin, you are special. You have made my life full of precious memories. You are so much loved.
    Hang in there.


  2. Thinking about you and your entire family. Hang in there and GOOD LUCK with the process. We are ALL pulling for you!


  3. Kevin and the Harless family,
    You are all in our thoughts and prayers here in the Thomas family during this difficult time. I know first hand how this has consumed your lives like it has ours with my mom still going through chemo. Stay strong, stay together and try to stay positive as well. I hope that you can all find comfort in our prayers were pulling for ya.


  4. Kevin,

    I’m sure you will be surrounded by so many loving friends and family during this time.

    Hang in there, you are an inspiration to me professionally and personally.

    Troy Gamueda


  5. Kevin,
    You have always been a long-time good friend and inspiration. Stay Harless Strong! My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family.
    Jim Dente


  6. Kevin – I am so sorry you are going through this. You’re the most determined and head strong person I know. Hang in there and know that many, many people (me included) are praying for you and your family.

    Shannon Pierce


  7. Kevin,

    So sorry to hear you are going through this! You are such a strong person and have been though so much! I will be praying for you and your family! I always think of you before a meeting. To put my list of items to accomplish together during that meeting like you taught me last summer! So proud to call you my friend and teacher! I am so thankful to have been able to work with you for so many years in my career. There are so many things you have taught me I cannot even count them all. Thank you! You are a fighter! Keep up the fight!

    Much love,
    Mikki Lutz


  8. Kevin — I need you, buddy! I can’t preview and edit all the Marketing materials on my own. We need you to keep asking the literally thousands of questions you are lovingly known for. I can’t imagine getting through a single Pyxis Open House without at least ten questions from you.

    I have found in you a kindred engineering spirit, with the love for detail, and a demand for excellence. I have waited too long to tell you how much I enjoy working with you, and how highly I respect you. Your common sense approach, UBER organizational skills, and hatred of Omnicell are only three of things I like most about you. You’re just good people!

    Please take comfort knowing that I am personally lifting you up in prayer, as will the congregation of my church. Jesus said He’d NEVER leave us nor forsake us. He’s a friend that sticks closer than even a brother. WOW, what a savior!

    Your friend,
    Patrick Friudenberg


  9. Kevin,

    I’m sending you love, light, peace, and prayers. A bend in the road is not an end in the road . When I saw you last time in San Diego I thought “it’s people like Kevin that make work and life special.” You’re awesome.

    Thinking of you, Amy


  10. Kevin, I’ve always known you to be a fighter, and I’m sure this will prove to be no different. Just know that you have a lot of people who love you and are keeping you in their prayers. You’ve always had my back… I’ve got yours. Take care my friend. Paul


  11. Mary and Family. I know God will wrap his loving, healing arms around Kevin. I know this is a tough road ahead, but be positive in his love.
    Debra Abramson


  12. Hi Kevin,
    I want you to know you are in my prayers. I miss your voice on our Friday calls but I am glad you getting the best treatment possible. Know that you are thought of often and I look forward to seeing you soon.


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