Adrenal Cancer Treatments

Your Treatment Options

Your care team will discuss an individualized treatment plan with you and it is important to take time and consider all possible choices.

It is also important to know that your chances for having the best possible outcome are highest in the hands of a medical team that is experienced in treating adrenal cancer.

One or more of the following types of treatment will be used.

Surgery: Physicians may remove the adrenal gland (adrenaloctomy) and nearby lymph nodes (lymphadenectomy). Chemotherapy and radiation may be used before or after surgery.

Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill or slow the growth of cancer cells. Physicians give these drugs based on the stage of the tumor. Chemotherapy may be used in combination with surgery to treat cancer.

In addition to delivering the highest quality medical care, we recognize the importance of the psychological and emotional aspects of living with a cancer diagnosis and of dealing with treatment. Our supportive oncology team addresses these issues in a timely manner with additional support from counselors, nurse navigators, dietitians and social service professionals.

Surgery Options

Laparoscopic & Robotic Adrenalectomy for Adrenal Cancer

Prior to the development of laparoscopic adrenalectomy, the standard procedure for adrenal gland removal due to adrenal cancer was an adrenalectomy, which required an 8-12 inch incision through the rib cage. Using the laparoscopic adrenalectomy technique, the chest area and large incisions can be avoided entirely. Emory urologists perform laparoscopic and robotic adrenalectomies using several small incisions to remove adrenal tumors.

Open Adrenal Surgery for Adrenal Cancer

Open adrenal surgery is sometimes necessary for large tumors, which can involve other surrounding organ systems. There are three main types of open adrenal surgery:

  • Transabdominal/Anterior surgery: During this type of open adrenal surgery, the surgeon makes an incision in the patient's abdomen to gain access to the adrenal glands to remove the tumor.
  • Posterior surgery: During this type of open adrenal surgery, the surgeon makes an incision in the patient's back above the kidney to reach the tumor. Doctors also may use posterior surgery to diagnose small tumors.
  • Thoracoabdominal surgery: During this type of open adrenal surgery, which is typically used for large, cancerous adrenal tumors, the surgeon makes a large incision through the chest and abdomen to gain access to cancerous tumors for removal.