What is adrenal cancer?
Adrenal cancer is a rare form of cancer that develops in the adrenal glands, which are located on top of the kidneys. The small glands are comprised of two separately functioning parts: the cortex (outer layer of the gland) and the medulla (the inner area of the gland).
The cortex produces hormones that are steroids, such as cortisol (which helps your body manage stress) and aldosterone (which helps regulate blood pressure). The medulla is part of your body's nervous system. Hormones it produces include norepinephrine and epinephrine (adrenaline). These hormones increase your heart beat and help your body react during stressful situations, such as when you are frightened.
Most adrenal tumors are noncancerous (benign) tumors known as adenomas. The majority of adenomas develop in the adrenal cortex
Adrenal cancer incidence
Adrenal cancer is very rare. It is estimated there are 200 cases diagnosed per year in the United States, however the American Cancer Society reports that these adrenal cancer statistics are not certain. While adrenal cancer can occur at any age, even in children, most people diagnosed with the disease are between the ages of 45 and 50.