What Is Adrenal Cancer and How It Is Treated?

What Is Adrenal Cancer and How It Is Treated?

What Is Adrenal Cancer and How It Is Treated? is an article that aims to give you all the information you do not know about what is adrenal cancer and how it is treated. We kindly shared the main headings with you;

What is adrenal cancer?

Adrenocortical carcinoma is a type of cancer that develops in the adrenal glands’ cortex, or outer layer. One adrenal gland is found on top of each kidney, making two total. Cortisol, testosterone, aldosterone, and estrogen are among the hormones that the adrenal cortex produces. These hormones regulate both male and female characteristics as well as bodily processes including blood pressure and stress reactivity. A malignant adrenal tumor called an adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) develops in the adrenal cortex.Invest in your health, invest in a brighter future. Our comprehensive medical programs deliver real results, while you indulge in the beauty and serenity of our destination. Read more to know about What Is Adrenal Cancer and How It Is Treated?

What Is Adrenal Cancer and How It Is Treated?

Two different ACC kinds exist:

  • ACC tumor in active growth phase: An ACC tumor in the active growth phase causes your adrenal gland to produce more hormones than it should.
  • Non-functioning ACC tumor: This kind of tumor has no impact on the production of hormones.

Who are at higher risk of developing adrenal cancer?

Adrenal cancer is more likely to occur in those who have particular inherited genetic disorders. Adrenocortical carcinoma is a hereditary condition that affects 50% of patients. ACC risk is increased by the following genetic conditions:

  • Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome
  • Carney complex
  • Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP)
  • Li-Fraumeni syndrome
  • Lynch syndrome
  • Multiple endocrine neoplasia (MEN1)
  • Neurofibromatosis Type 1 (NF1)
  • Von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) syndrome

What are the symptoms of adrenal cancer?

Adrenal tumors appear with two types of symptoms:

  • Hormone overproduction symptoms can be brought on by a functional ACC.
  • A large adrenal tumor could put pressure on neighboring organs. Pain or other symptoms may be brought on by this pressure.

The following symptoms of adrenocortical cancer can occur depending on the cause:

  • Pain in the belly
  • Gynecomastia. It is the medical term for male breast enlargement.
  • Early puberty in boys and girls
  • Excessive body or facial hair growth in females 
  • High blood pressure
  • High blood sugar
  • Gain in body weight, but just around the face, neck, and trunk (not the arms or legs)

How adrenal cancer is diagnosed?

Following a physical examination, your doctor will inquire about any symptoms you may have. If your symptoms match with adrenal cancer symptoms you may undergo the following:

  • Imaging tests such as an MRI, CT scan, or PET scan to look for tumors
  • Blood and urine testing to determine hormone levels 
  • A test to evaluate cortisol levels after dexamethasone suppression
  • A biopsy to determine whether a tumor is malignant or not

What are the stages of adrenal cancer?

Your healthcare professionals will assess the disease’s severity if a biopsy finds that the adrenal tumor is malignant. They’ll measure the tumor to find out if the cancer has spread to other organs or tissues in your body in addition to the adrenal gland. Staging is the term for this process. 

  • Early adrenal cancer: In stages 1 or 2, the tumor is still fairly small and has not progressed outside the adrenal gland.
  • Advancing adrenal cancer: Adrenal cancer that is in stages 3 and 4 has metastasized to other body organs. The lymph nodes in the area are where cancer cells typically disseminate first. Additionally, bone, blood vessels, tissues, and other organs can get infected by advanced cancer. Read more to know about What Is Adrenal Cancer and How It Is Treated?

What are the treatment types of adrenal cancer?

Surgery to remove the tumor is frequently the first course of treatment. Your adrenal gland will be removed by the surgeon, who might also need to remove some adjacent tissue. Your treatment plan may involve the following treatment methods to prevent cancerous cells from spreading to other parts of your body:

  • Open surgery. The entire adrenal carcinoma will be removed during surgery. Doctors must perform an adrenalectomy (complete removal of the afflicted adrenal glands) to do this. Parts or all of the liver and kidney may also be removed during surgery if the surgeons discover indications that cancer has spread to surrounding structures like those in the region.
  • Robotic surgery. Robotic surgical methods can be used to treat a variety of malignancies, including adrenal cancer. The phrase “robotic surgery” may give the impression that a machine is executing the procedure, however, this is untrue. Instead, a skilled surgeon employs wristed, robotic devices to conduct fine, delicate movements that are impossible with the human hand alone through small incisions. An adrenalectomy involves physically removing both the tumor and the adrenal gland. Robotic surgery may be appropriate if the adrenal gland can be removed in one piece and the tumor is tiny, despite the fact that big or invasive adrenal tumors are normally removed with open adrenalectomy.
  • Medications. An earlier medication that has been used to treat advanced adrenal cancer has demonstrated the potential in preventing the disease from returning following surgery. After surgery, Mitotane (Lysodren) may be suggested for patients with a high risk of cancer recurrence. There is continuing investigation concerning the use of mitotane.
  • Radiotherapy. High-powered energy beams, such as X-rays and protons, are used in radiation therapy to kill cancer cells. In order to eliminate any potential leftover cells after surgery for adrenal cancer, radiation therapy is occasionally utilized. It can also aid in easing pain and other signs and symptoms of cancer that have spread to different body areas, such as the bone.
  • Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is a medication that destroys cancer cells by using chemicals. Chemotherapy may be an option to halt the growth of adrenal tumors that cannot be surgically removed or that recur after initial treatments.

Which treatment type is the best according to the stage of the cancer?

Stage I and II

Stage I and stage II adrenal carcinoma are primarily treated with surgery. The adrenal gland will be completely removed. Since everyone has two adrenal glands, removing the unhealthy one usually has no negative effects on the patient. They will also be removed and examined for cancerous cells if neighboring lymph nodes are swollen. If these lymph nodes are not swollen, most surgeons will leave them alone. Many times, no additional care is required. Read more to know about What Is Adrenal Cancer and How It Is Treated?

After surgery, radiation and/or mitotane therapy may be used if the tumor wasn’t entirely removed to help prevent the cancer from returning. These therapies may also be used if the tumor was large or appeared to be developing quickly (when observed under a microscope), both of which increase the likelihood that it will recur in the future. Adjuvant therapy is used when a patient receives care after surgery has successfully treated all visible cancer. Adjuvant therapy aims to eradicate any cancer cells that may have survived but are too tiny to be detected. By eliminating these cells, the likelihood that the cancer will recur is decreased.

Stage III

Stage III adrenal carcinoma is mostly treated with surgery. Surgery aims to completely eradicate the malignancy. The surgeon will always remove the adrenal gland containing the tumor, and it is possible that additional tissue surrounding the adrenal gland, such as a portion (or the entirety) of the neighboring kidney and liver, will also need to be removed. Additionally, the lymph nodes next to the adrenal gland will be resected. To assist prevent cancer from returning after surgery, adjuvant treatment with radiation and/or mitotane may be used.

Stage IV

Surgery may be performed if all of the cancer can be eliminated. Surgery typically isn’t able to cure cancer when it has spread to other bodily parts. Still, some medical professionals could advise surgery to get rid of the tumor completely. Debulking surgery is this kind of procedure. By reducing hormone synthesis, the majority of the cancer may be removed, which may help with symptoms. Any cancerous growths that are producing symptoms may also be treated with radiation therapy. Radiation, for instance, can relieve pain brought on by cancer that has migrated to the bones. Another choice is mitotane treatment. Awaiting the onset of symptoms from the cancer before starting treatment is one option. It is also possible to utilize additional chemotherapy (chemo) medications.

What is recurrent adrenal cancer?

When cancer returns after therapy, it is referred to as recurrent cancer. Recurrence can happen locally (in or close to where it first appeared) or distantly (in other organs like the bones or lungs). Surgery to remove the malignancy may be used to treat a local recurrence. If all of the cancer can be removed, this is more likely to be done. Remote recurrence is managed similarly to stage IV illness. Surgery to debulk (remove as much of the cancer as feasible) may be performed to alleviate symptoms. Mitotane and/or other chemotherapy medications are frequently used to treat patients with recurrent illnesses. Radiation therapy may also be given to them. Other medications can be administered to reduce hormone production if the mitotane is ineffective or not well tolerated. Read more to know about What Is Adrenal Cancer and How It Is Treated?

What Is Adrenal Cancer and How It Is Treated?

Because the tumor will inevitably keep growing, these treatments typically only offer temporary relief. When this occurs and the treatments are no longer effective, the best option may be a treatment that focuses on maximizing quality of life. Morphine and other opioids are the best painkillers. Numerous studies have demonstrated that using morphine as prescribed to treat pain does not result in addiction. There are numerous additional ways your doctor can support you in preserving your standard of living and managing your symptoms. This means that you have to tell to your doctor your symptoms and how you are feeling. Many patients are reluctant to let their doctors know they are unwell because they don’t want to disappoint them. This delays your treatment.

What happens if adrenal cancer left untreated?

Adrenal tumors can grow if they are not treated. Tumors may press against other organs as they get larger. The way those organs function may be impacted by this pressure, along with additional symptoms. Adrenocortical carcinomas that are still functioning will continue to overproduce the hormones that regulate different bodily processes. Different symptoms are brought on by various hormones as follows,

Cushing’s syndrome is caused by excessive cortisol, and symptoms include:

  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Elevated blood sugar
  • Weight gain around the face, neck, and body
  • A lump of fat between the shoulder blades.
  • Hair growth in the face and body

Conn’s syndrome is a result of excessive aldosterone, and symptoms include:

  • Extreme thirst
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Cramps or weakened muscles
  • Need to urinate frequently.

In women, having too much testosterone can lead to:

  • Facial and body hair growth
  • Balding
  • Voice getting deeper.
  • Lack of periods

Women who have too much estrogen may develop:

  • Irregular periods.
  • Bleeding following menopause
  • Weight gain

Men who have too much estrogen can develop:

  • Low-quality sex drive
  • Erection problems
  • Breast development

What is the importance of early diagnosis?

A family history of adrenocortical cancer is common. Everyone in the family should undergo genetic testing if one member of the family already has the condition. Ask your doctor about routine screening for early detection if you have a genetic disease that puts you at higher risk for ACC. The tumor’s size, position, and whether the cancer has migrated outside the adrenal glands all affect the prognosis. When the tumor is tiny or the patient is younger, the prognosis is better. In certain instances, surgically eliminating the tumor in its entirety can cure cancer. It is more difficult to treat tumors that have metastasized (spread to other parts of the body). Adrenocortical carcinoma patients’ survival rates continue to rise thanks to new therapies.

What Is Adrenal Cancer and How It Is Treated?

What is the cost of adrenal treatment in Turkey?

It is possible to get an open or laparoscopic adrenalectomy (removal of one or two adrenal glands) in Turkey. Major hospitals in this nation provide the Da Vinci robot. With the aid of surgical technology, cancer can be removed as efficiently and securely as possible for the patient. Some patients will need further radiation, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, etc. Malignant adrenal tumor treatment costs in Turkey are significantly lower than in several Western European nations that are popular with medical tourists. The cost of treatment is approximately:

  • Open surgery: Starts from €10,000
  • Chemotherapy: One session starts from €1700
  • Radiotherapy: One session starts from €6000
  • Robotic surgery: Starts from €12,800

Treatment Cost Calculator

Why Turkey is the best country for the treatment of adrenal cancer?

  • Accuracy of the diagnosis. The patient receives a thorough examination, allowing for a rapid and accurate diagnosis. Based on the precise diagnosis, clinical image, medical state, and age of the patient, one can acquire a cancer control program in just a few days.
  • Qualified experts. Doctors with 20 to 30 years of experience in their specialties are employed by Turkish clinics. Numerous doctors are skilled in contemporary cancer removal techniques, particularly robotic surgery.
  • High success rates in the tumor-fighting process. Over 85% of early-stage adrenal cancer patients are predicted to survive for five years. Considering the aggressiveness and complexity of the disease’s treatment, this is a fairly high number.
  • Personalized approach. Each patient receives a customized course of care that can be changed as needed. To acquire the greatest results, a multidisciplinary team of professionals including an oncologist, surgeon, and chemotherapist or radiotherapist collaborates.

What Is Adrenal Cancer and How It Is Treated? Treatment Summary

Operation Number Depends on the initial diagnosis Time to return to work
Operation Time
Depends on the treatment type
Recovery 4-6 weeks
Anesthesia Total intravenous anesthesia Persistence of Results Permanent
Sensitivity Time Hospital Stay 1-3 days
Package Price starting from around €10,000


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