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Adrenal cancer

The information on this page was reviewed and approved by
Maurie Markman, MD, President, Medicine & Science at CTCA.

This page was updated on April 12, 2021.

Adrenal cancer requires expert care. Know your options.

Adrenal cancer is a rare disease that develops in the adrenal glands, two tiny glands on top of the kidneys that are part of the endocrine system. They produce hormones that are responsible for a number of bodily functions, such as the body’s ability to manage stress and regulate blood pressure. Most adrenal tumors are benign, meaning they are not cancer, and are known as adenomas.

At Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA), we treat adrenal cancer using a multi-faceted approach. A team of experts may perform a variety of imaging and laboratory tests, such as CT scans, MRI or ultrasound, to accurately diagnose and stage the disease. These same tests may be used to monitor the response to treatment and modify treatment plans accordingly. As part of our whole-person care model, our hospitals and outpatient clinics integrate an array of supportive care therapies—nutrition therapy, pain management, oncology rehabilitation and individual and group counseling, for example—to help manage cancer’s physical and psychological side effects.

What you should know after an adrenal cancer diagnosis

​Treatment options

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Your CTCA® doctors will evaluate a variety of factors when developing your treatment plan, taking into account the adrenal tumor’s size and location, among other considerations. This information will help your care team develop a comprehensive care plan, tailored to your specific needs and designed to treat the tumor while also helping you manage related side effects. The common treatments for adrenal cancer include:

Surgery is used to treat all stages of cancer of the adrenal gland. Options vary based on the stage of the disease.

In some cases of advanced adrenal cancer, chemotherapy may be used in combination with surgery to destroy cancer cells or keep them from growing and spreading.

Radiation therapy
Radiation—to shrink or destroy cancer cells unable to be removed during surgery—is often recommended following surgery in patients with advanced adrenal cancer.

Learn more about treatments for adrenal cancer

Supportive care

Surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation to treat adrenal cancer may affect patients’ quality of life. Common side effects during treatment may include nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, hair loss, pain and a decreased appetite. Our supportive care professionals are available to help patients manage both the physical and psychological impacts of cancer treatment.


​Nutritional support

Every patient has the option of meeting with a registered dietitian.


​Pain management

Pain management is a branch of medicine focused on reducing pain and improving quality of life through an integrative approach to care.


Behavioral health

​Our behavioral health support program is designed to support you and your caregivers before, during and after cancer treatment.


Eric K.

Kidney Cancer

"My care team was clear in explaining everything to me and answering my questions. I never felt they made promises to me, yet I had found hope. CTCA gave me treatment options, and that’s what I wanted because I wasn’t ready to give up. "


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