Adrenal cancer is obviously the major obstacle in my life currently. If you haven’t read my history with adrenal cancer, you should catch up, it’s been a wild ride.
So I’m hoping in this to condense everything into an easier to read format. I’m going to try and cover all the major aspects quickly.
Types of Adrenal Cancer
Pheochromocytoma: This develops from the inner layer or medulla. These tumors are usually benign but can cause serious side effects.
Adrenocortical carcinoma: This develops from the outer layer or cortex. It is rare (about 1 out of a million) and aggressive.
Functioning: The tumor cells are producing excess hormones
Non-functioning: Do not produce any excess hormones
The survival rate for localized adrenal cancer is 65%, for regional metastasis 44%, and for distant metastasis, it’s 7%
I’m currently in stage 4, giving me a 7% chance of survival for 5 years. That is because my cancer has spread to distant organs and possibly lymph nodes (they haven’t tested any lymph nodes since my original surgery).
However, as shocking as that is to type. Multiple factors go into figuring that number. My percent is probably higher, but it’s impossible to tell.
Most cases of adrenal cancer occur in people with prior health issues. I did not have any.
Treatment for Adrenal Cancer
The first option is surgery. Which makes sense, find cancer and cut it out.
Chemotherapy: again, this one is fairly obvious and well known.
Radiation: again, another obvious choice but there are multiple ways for them to radiate cancer.
Immunotherapy: this one has become more common in the last few decades. These treatments boost your own immune system to help fight cancer.
The side effects of immunotherapy are similar to that of chemotherapy. So it’s not a better if you’re just looking into managing side effects.
Hopefully, this quick primer has cleared up any questions or may have had. I was debating on going over my history in the years leading up to my diagnosis, but I’m not sure I can do that without skewering some people. So I’ll probably skip that post.
If you have any other questions about adrenal cancer, read the NCI information here.