Adrenal Cancer Stages

Adrenal cancer stages are assigned based on the TNM (tumor, node, metastasis) staging system. This system is a standardized way of evaluating how far an adrenal tumor has spread. After a tumor has been staged, a patient’s oncologists can then determine the best ways to treat it.

To stage an adrenal cancer, physicians generally consider three factors: the size of the primary tumor, whether it has spread to the nearby lymph nodes and whether it has spread to other organs throughout the body. A numerical grade is determined for each of these three factors, then the resulting three grades combined into a single stage. The stages for adrenal cancer tumors are:

  • Stage 1 – The tumor is smaller than two inches and has not grown into the surrounding tissues, lymph nodes or organs.
  • Stage 2 – The tumor is larger than two inches but has not grown into the surrounding tissues, lymph nodes or organs.
  • Stage 3 – The tumor has spread to lymph nodes or surrounding tissues, but not both.
  • Stage 4 – The tumor has spread outside of the adrenal gland to nearby tissues and lymph nodes. It may or may not have spread to distant organs.

Adrenal cancer stages are not the only factor to consider when creating a treatment plan, but they do play a significant role. Early stage tumors may be good candidates for minimally invasive surgery, while larger tumors may require more traditional surgery or possibly no surgery at all. Similarly, later-stage cancers that have spread throughout the body may benefit from one or more systemic treatments, such as chemotherapy, to destroy abnormal cells in multiple locations.

To learn more about adrenal cancer stages and what they mean for you, call 1-888-663-3488 or submit a new patient registration form online. We offer comprehensive, individualized advice to all patients, with or without referrals.