Adrenal Cancer

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Treating Adrenal Cancer TOPICS

How is adrenal cancer treated?

This information represents the views of the doctors and nurses serving on the American Cancer Society's Cancer Information Database Editorial Board. These views are based on their interpretation of studies published in medical journals, as well as their own professional experience.
The treatment information in this document is not official policy of the Society and is not intended as medical advice to replace the expertise and judgment of your cancer care team. It is intended to help you and your family make informed decisions, together with your doctor.
Your doctor may have reasons for suggesting a treatment plan different from these general treatment options. Don't hesitate to ask him or her questions about your treatment options.

General treatment information

After the cancer is diagnosed, your doctor will discuss your treatment options with you. It is important to take time and think about all of the choices. In choosing a treatment plan, factors to consider include your overall physical health and the stage of the cancer. Sometimes it is a good idea to get a second opinion. A second opinion can provide more information and help you feel more confident about the treatment plan that is chosen. Another reason for people with adrenal cortical cancer to get a second opinion is that, because these cancers are so rare, only large cancer centers will have much experience in treating them.

The main types of treatment for adrenal cancer are:

Depending on the type and stage of your cancer, you may need more than one type of treatment. Doctors on your cancer treatment team might include:

  • A surgeon: a doctor who uses surgery to treat cancers or other problems
  • An endocrinologist: a doctor who treats diseases in glands that secrete hormones
  • A radiation oncologist: a doctor who uses radiation to treat cancer
  • A medical oncologist: a doctor who uses chemotherapy and other medicines to treat cancer

Many other specialists may be involved in your care as well, including nurse practitioners, nurses, psychologists, social workers, rehabilitation specialists, and other health professionals. The next few sections describe the types of treatment used for adrenal cancers. This is followed by a discussion of when these treatments are used in different situations.

It is important to discuss all of your treatment options, including their goals and possible side effects, with your doctors to help make the decision that best fits your needs. It’s also very important to ask questions if there is anything you’re not sure about. You can find some good questions to ask in the section, “What should you ask your doctor about adrenal cancer?

The “Additional resources for adrenal cancer” section has other, more detailed materials on the different types of cancer treatments and their side effects.


Last Medical Review: 03/19/2014
Last Revised: 04/10/2014