Education & Diagnosis
Adrenal cancer is a rare cancer that develops in the small, triangular glands located on top of your kidneys, called the Adrenal Glands. These glands produce hormones that give instructions to virtually every organ and tissue in your body. Though rare, Adrenal cancer is often aggressive, and when found early, can be treated.
Two types of tumors can develop in adults' adrenal glands:
- A pheochromocytoma (non-cancerous tumor) is a tumor that develops in the adrenal gland and produces excess adrenaline, leading to extremely high blood pressure. Many patients with high blood pressure (hypertension) caused by pheochromocytoma experience severe headaches, profuse sweating, and are at an increased risk of both heart attack and stroke.
- Cancerous tumors of the adrenal gland are extremely rare affecting only about 300 to 500 people each year in the U.S., and must be treated immediately.
Testing & Treatment
Most problematic adrenal tumors are treated with medication to control symptoms, followed by surgery to remove the tumor.
An Adrenalectomy is the most common surgical procedure for adrenal cancer. Performed robotically through a few small openings rather than through a traditional surgical incision, the surgeon can access and remove the tumor. With the choice of robotic-assisted surgery, this procedure can be done in a less invasive manner, with less pain and quicker recovery time.