Survival Rates for Adrenal Cancer

Survival rates tell you what portion of people with the same type and stage of cancer are still alive a certain length of time (usually 5 years) after they were diagnosed. These numbers can’t tell you how long you will live, but they might help give you a better understanding about how likely it is that your treatment will be successful.

What is a 5-year survival rate?

Statistics on the outlook for people with a certain type and stage of cancer are often given as 5-year survival rates, but many people live longer – often much longer – than 5 years. The 5-year survival rate is the percentage of people who live at least 5 years after being diagnosed with cancer. For example, a 5-year survival rate of 90% means that an estimated 90 out of 100 people who have that cancer are still alive 5 years after being diagnosed.

Relative survival rates are often a more accurate way to estimate the effect of cancer on survival. These rates compare people with adrenal cancer to people in the overall population. For example, if the 5-year relative survival rate for a specific type and stage of cancer is 90%, it means that people who have that cancer are, on average, about 90% as likely as people who don’t have that cancer to live for at least 5 years after being diagnosed.

But remember, the 5-year relative survival rates are estimates – your outlook can vary based on a number of factors specific to you.

Cancer survival rates don’t tell the whole story

Survival rates are often based on previous outcomes of large numbers of people who had the disease, but they can’t predict what will happen in any particular person’s case. There are a number of limitations to remember:

  • The numbers below are among the most current available. But to get 5-year survival rates, doctors have to look at people who were treated at least 5 years ago. As treatments are improving over time, people who are now being diagnosed with adrenal cancer may have a better outlook than these statistics show.
  • These statistics are based on the stage of the cancer when it was first diagnosed. They do not apply to cancers that come back later or spread, for example.
  • Besides the cancer stage, many other factors can affect a person's outlook, such as age and overall health, and how well the cancer responds to treatment.

Your doctor can tell you how these numbers may apply to you, as he or she is familiar with your situation.

Survival rates for adrenal cancer

These survival rates come from the National Cancer Database (NCDB). The database does not list survival statistics by AJCC or ENSAT stages. Instead, it divides patients into 3 groups:

  • Localized means that the cancer hasn't grown outside of the adrenal gland at diagnosis (like stages I and II).
  • Regional means that the cancer has grown into nearby tissues or has spread to nearby lymph nodes (like stage III).
  • Distant means that the cancer has spread further to distant sites (like stage IV).

The 5-year relative survival rates by stage for adrenal cancer are as follows:


Relative Survival








The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team
Our team is made up of doctors and master's-prepared nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

American Joint Committee on Cancer. Adrenal Cortical. In: AJCC Cancer Staging Manual. 8th ed. New York: Springer. 2017:911-918.

Howlader N, Noone AM, Krapcho M, Miller D, Bishop K, Kosary CL, Yu M, Ruhl J, Tatalovich Z, Mariotto A, Lewis DR, Chen HS, Feuer EJ, Cronin KA (eds). SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2014, National Cancer 
Institute. Bethesda, MD,, based on November 2016 SEER data submission, posted to the SEER web site, April 2017.


Last Medical Review: March 19, 2014 Last Revised: February 25, 2015

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