Adrenal Cancer: Symptoms, Stages, Information
Published: 2009-04-01 - Updated: 2022-08-16
Author: Disabled World | Contact: Disabled World (Disabled-World.com)
Peer-Reviewed Publication: N/A
Additional References: Cancer and Tumors Publications
Synopsis: Adrenal cancer (adrenocortical cancer) is rare cancer that begins in one or both of the small triangular glands (adrenal glands) located on top of your kidneys. Adrenal cancer can occur at any age. But it's most likely to affect children younger than five and adults in their 40s and 50s. Treatment may include surgery, radiation therapy, and/or chemotherapy. Treatment for inoperable or unresectable tumors can be utilized for palliation, but the prognosis is poor. Adrenocortical carcinoma can recur (come back) after it has been treated. The 5-year survival rate for inoperable or unresectable tumors is less than 10%.
- Adrenal Cancer
There are two adrenal glands. The adrenal glands are small and shaped like a triangle. One adrenal gland sits on top of each kidney. Each adrenal gland has two parts. The outer layer of the adrenal gland is the adrenal cortex. The center of the adrenal gland is the adrenal medulla. Adrenal glands produce hormones that instruct virtually every organ and tissue in your body. Adrenal cancer, also called adrenocortical cancer, is rare cancer that begins in one or both of the small, triangular glands (adrenal glands) located on top of your kidneys. Adrenal cancer can occur at any age. But it's most likely to affect children younger than five and adults in their 40s and 50s.
Alternate names: Adrenal Carcinoma, Adrenocortical Carcinoma, Adrenocortical Cancer, Cancer of the Adrenal Cortex, Carcinoma of the Adrenal Cortex. Adrenal Cancer forms in the outer tissue layer of the adrenal gland. Adrenocortical Carcinoma is also called Cancer of the Adrenal Cortex.
The U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) has included Adrenal Cancer in its Compassionate Allowance Program, which expedites certain disability conditions claims.
A tumor of the adrenal cortex may be functioning (producing excess hormones) or non-functioning (not producing hormones). Individuals with the hereditary diseases LiFraumeni Syndrome, Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome, and Carney Complex are at risk for Adrenal Cancer.
Symptoms of Adrenocortical Carcinoma Include:
- A lump in the abdomen
- Pain the abdomen or back
- A feeling of fullness in the abdomen
The following may be used to diagnose the disease:
- CT scan
- Laboratory tests including blood and urine analysis
Having certain genetic conditions increases the risk of adrenocortical carcinoma.
Stages of Adrenocortical Carcinoma
After diagnosing adrenocortical carcinoma, tests determine if cancer cells have spread within the adrenal gland or to other body parts. The following stages are used for adrenocortical carcinoma:
- Stage I - In stage I, the tumor is 5 centimeters or smaller and is found in the adrenal gland only.
- Stage II - In stage II, the tumor is larger than 5 centimeters and is only found in the adrenal gland.
- Stage III - In stage III, the tumor is any size and has spread to nearby lymph nodes; or nearby tissues or organs (kidney, diaphragm, pancreas, spleen, or liver) or large blood vessels (renal vein or vena cava) and may have spread to nearby lymph nodes.
- Stage IV - In stage IV, the tumor is any size, may have spread to nearby lymph nodes, and has spread to other parts of the body, such as the lung, bone, or peritoneum.
Treatment may include surgery, radiation therapy, and/or chemotherapy. Treatment for inoperable or unresectable tumors can be utilized for palliation, but the prognosis is poor.
Adrenocortical carcinoma can recur (come back) after it has been treated. The 5-year survival rate for inoperable or unresectable tumors is less than 10%.
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