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Adrenal gland

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Survival statistics for adrenal gland cancer

Survival statistics for adrenal gland cancer are very general estimates and must be interpreted very carefully. Because these statistics are based on the experience of groups of people, they cannot be used to predict a particular person’s chances of survival.

There are many different ways to measure and report cancer survival statistics. Your doctor can explain the statistics for adrenal gland cancer and what they mean to you.

Relative survival

Relative survival looks at how likely people with cancer are to survive after their diagnosis compared to people in the general population who do not have cancer, but who share similar characteristics (such as age and sex).

A separate 5-year relative survival statistic is not reported for adrenal gland cancer, but is included in the general category, other endocrine gland cancers. This broad category includes similar cancers that are grouped and reported together. This statistic does not necessarily reflect the actual survival for the individual cancers within the group.

Canadian statistics are not available. According to US statistics, the 5-year relative survival for other endocrine gland cancer is 63%. This means that, on average, people diagnosed with other endocrine gland cancers are 63% as likely to live 5 years after their diagnosis as people in the general population.

Adrenocortical carcinoma

The following information comes from the National Cancer Institute’s SEER (Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results) database. It is based on people diagnosed with adrenocortical carcinoma between 1988 and 2001. The survival statistics are not listed by stage, but by the following groups:

  • Localized – The tumour has not grown outside the adrenal gland (like stages I and II).
  • Regional – The tumour has grown into nearby tissues or has spread to nearby lymph nodes (like stage III).
  • Distant – The cancer has spread to distant sites (like stage IV).

Adrenocortical carcinoma survival
Groups5-year relative survival








The majority of pheochromocytoma tumours are benign, which means people diagnosed with this type of cancer are expected to live a normal lifespan. Because malignant pheochromocytoma tumours are so rare, it is very difficult to get accurate survival statistics. The 5-year survival rate refers to the percentage of people who are alive at least 5 years after their cancer diagnosis. However, people may live much longer than 5 years.

Pheochromocytomas are divided into categories based on the presence of localized (apparently benign), regional and metastatic disease.

Pheochromocytoma survival
Category5-year survival


normal life span


no information available



Questions about survival

People with cancer should talk to their doctor about their prognosis. Prognosis depends on many factors, including:

  • a person’s medical history
  • type of cancer
  • stage
  • age
  • characteristics of the cancer
  • treatments chosen
  • response to treatment

Only a doctor familiar with these factors can put all of this information together with survival statistics to arrive at a prognosis.


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