Living with Adrenal Cortical Cancer (Adrenal Cortex Carcinoma)

Adrenal cortical cancer (also referred to as adrenal cortex carcinoma) affects the adrenal gland, which produces adrenaline, noradrenaline, and steroid hormones. It is extremely rare, affecting fewer than 500 persons a year in the United States.  Risk factors for adrenal cortical cancer are not known -- its occurrence is not associated with typical carcinogens, such as smoking, and the disease does not run in families. Adrenal cortical cancer survival rates vary depending on stage of discovery, but the average five year survival rate is approximately 40%.

Adrenal cortical cancer affects both adults and children and is often discovered when the tumor causes excess secretion of hormones. Symptoms of adrenal cortical cancer include development of characteristics of the opposite sex and, in children, early puberty. The stages of adrenal cortical cancer range from I to IV depending on tumor size and the extent to which it has spread. The most common treatment for adrenal cortical cancer is surgery, which may be followed up with chemotherapy and/or radiation.

For more information on adrenal cortical cancer, read the American Cancer Society’s detailed guide.

If you have been affected by adrenal cortical cancer, please be sure to take some time to read others' experiences, share your own experiences, and ask or answer questions.

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