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Adrenocortical Carcinoma Treatment

Stages of Adrenocortical Carcinoma

After adrenocortical carcinoma has been diagnosed, tests are done to find out if cancer cells have spread within the adrenal gland or to other parts of the body.

The process used to find out if cancer has spread within the adrenal gland or to other parts of the body is called staging. The information gathered from the staging process determines the stage of the disease. It is important to know the stage in order to plan treatment. The following tests and procedures may be used in the staging process:

There are three ways that cancer spreads in the body.

The three ways that cancer spreads in the body are:

When cancer cells break away from the primary (original) tumor and travel through the lymph or blood to other places in the body, another (secondary) tumor may form. This process is called metastasis. The secondary (metastatic) tumor is the same type of cancer as the primary tumor. For example, if breast cancer spreads to the bones, the cancer cells in the bones are actually breast cancer cells. The disease is metastatic breast cancer, not bone cancer.

The following stages are used for adrenocortical carcinoma:


Pea, peanut, walnut, and lime show tumor sizes.
Pea, peanut, walnut, and lime show tumor sizes.

Stage I

In stage I, the tumor is 5 centimeters or smaller and is found only in the adrenal gland.

Stage II

In stage II, the tumor is larger than 5 centimeters and is found only in the adrenal gland.

Stage III

In stage III, the tumor can be any size and may have spread to fat or lymph nodes near the adrenal gland.

Stage IV

In stage IV, the tumor can be any size and has spread: