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 Adrenal Gland Cancer

Created this webpage July, 2004

I created this page for my husband Bill and our family. We hope that this gives other people the insight:

Bills' cancer was a: Recurrent

The cancer has come back (recurred) after it has been treated. When he had esophagus cancer Back in 2000. It came back in the adrenal cortex . So they call this one Esophagus Adrenal Gland Carcinoma or other words it had metastasis.(the spread of cancer from one part of the body to another)

Bill had Esophagus Cancer in early 2000 , we did treatment all that year, Chemotherapy, Radiations, and Surgery.@ MD Anderson Cancer Center, In Houston, Texas, was just sure they had got it all, every thing had come back clean on check up every few months tell we went in January of 2002, that is when this show up.

The adrenal glands are small, but very important because they make several hormones that help the body to work properly and are vital to life.

Cancers that start in the adrenal gland are called primary adrenal gland cancers.
Primary adrenal cortical cancers are rare. There are fewer than 100 diagnosed in the world each year.
Sometimes cancers that started in other parts of the body, spread to the adrenal glands. This is known as a secondary cancer and would be treated as a cancer, not just an adrenal gland cancer.

The prognosis for adrenal gland cancer is variable. For localized pheochromocytomas the 5-year survival rate is 95%.
This rate decreases with aggressive tumors that have metastasises. The prognosis for adrenal cortical cancer is not as good with a 5-year survival rate of 5 to-35%.

What the Adrenal gland dose:
There are steroid hormones made in the adrenal cortex. If you have an adrenal cortical tumor, it may make to much of any of these hormones. Because of this, most of these tumors cause symptoms affecting your whole body.

Cortisol - a natural steroid hormone that affects the level of sugar in the blood.
Aldosterone, which helps to regulate the body’s water balance, salt balance and blood pressure.
Male and female sex hormones (oestrogen and testosterone)

Symptoms of adrenal gland cancer: About two out of three adrenal cortical cancers make hormones.
If you have one that does not, you may not have any symptoms until the cancer is quite far advanced. Then you may start to have pain, tiredness and weight loss.

If your tumor makes hormones, these will cause your symptoms.
If your tumor makes too much cortisol or aldosterone.

You may have: Pain in the growing. lower back. low abdomen. sometimes going in to the leg mainly on the side the cancer is on.
Some things you may see:
weakening of the bones
Loss of weight without dieting, or weakness.
Raised blood pressure or Low blood pressure
weakness/condition of fatigue
Passing urine frequently
Muscle cramps
Muscle wasting in the legs or arms, making them look thinner
Mild diabetes (less common)
If male or female hormones are affected, the body may go through changes such as a deepening of the voice, growing hair on the face, swelling of the sex organs, or swelling of the breasts.

Purpose of chemotherapy:
The main purpose of chemotherapy is to kill cancer cells. It is usually used to treat patients with cancer that has spread from the place in the body where it started (metastasises). Chemotherapy destroys cancer cells anywhere in the body. It even kills cells that have broken off from the main tumor and traveled through the blood or lymph systems to other parts of the body.

Chemotherapy can cure some types of cancer. In some cases, it is used to slow the growth of cancer cells or to keep the cancer from spreading to other parts of the body. When a cancer has been found, chemotherapy may be used to keep the cancer from coming back (adjuvant therapy). Chemotherapy also can ease the symptoms of cancer, helping some patients to have a better quality of life

Some of the Chemotherapy they try to get Bill's Adrenal cancer was:

(Adriamycin) Doxorubicin.
Fluorouracil (5FU).
(Taxol) Paclitaxel.
Cisplatin. Vincristine (Oncovin).
a Etoposide (VP16, Etopophos)
and some more I do know have the names of.
More than 50 chemotherapy drugs are currently available to treat cancer and many more are being tested for their ability to destroy cancer cells. Most chemotherapy drugs interfere with the ability of cells to grow or multiply. Although these drugs affect all cells in the body, many useful treatments are most effective against rapidly growing cells. Cancer cells grow more quickly than most other body cells. Other cells that grow fast are cells of the bone marrow that produce blood cells, cells in the stomach and intestines. Therefore, the most common side effects of chemotherapy are linked to their effects on other fast growing cells.

We stayed in Houston for over a year while Bill was doing all his Chemotherapy.

The last they have done is for Bill is radiation.

Radiation therapy:
To shrink an inoperable tumor in order to and reduce pain and improve quality of life.
The adrenal glands are small, but very important because they make several hormones that help the body to work properly and are vital to life. But if you lose one the other usually can be relied on to support the makes hormones.
So we have see what good this has done:

This is the first long stay we had at home , in all the time we been dealing with this cancer, we got be home about 6 weeks.

When radiation was over they told us, that the radiation had killed the adrenal gland the cancer was in and top 2/10 of his kindney. We are to go back to Houston, in July of 2004, for test and to see where we go from here.

America's Best Hospitals - Cancer:

Stage Explanation

Stages of cancer of the adrenal cortex

Once cancer of the adrenal cortex has been found, more tests will be done to see how far the cancer has spread. This is called staging. A doctor needs to know the stage of the cancer to plan treatment. The following stages are used for cancer of the adrenal cortex:

Stage I The cancer is less than 5 centimeters (less than 2 inches) and has not spread into tissues around the adrenal gland.

Stage II The cancer is more than 5 centimeters (greater than 2 inches) and has not spread into tissues around the adrenal gland.

Stage III The cancer has spread into tissues around the adrenal gland or has spread to the lymph nodes around the adrenal gland. Lymph nodes are part of the lymph system and are small, bean shaped organs that make and store infection-fighting cells.

Stage IV The cancer has spread to tissues or organs in the area and to lymph nodes around the adrenal cortex, or the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

There cannot be enough praise for the fine care givers at
Click on: The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas"

You could not ask for a better place to go for treatment. Their care goes be on beyond treating just the cancer. I have to say how we were treated was with compassion, and I have high praise for their friendly, knowledgeable staff members who truly make M. D. Anderson feel like a place of hope and know you get the best of ever kind in all support. The Department of Social Work may be able to help you with individual counseling, support groups, community resources, transportation, and housing while you are being treated not only that Educational Opportunities to learn about all the changes taking place in you body, but your life as a whole. There is a very good Spiritual support at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, too. I have to give my husband's (Bill) Doctors on his case, the due respect he so richly deserve. Thanks
They are:

Ajani, Jaffer A., M.D. Professor, GI Oncology/Digestive Disease

Radiations Oncology
Liao, Zhongxing, M.D. Denotes Section Chief

Pain Management
Motaparthi, Madhuri M.D.

Bill and his family give's a heart felt Thanks to all of M.D. Anderson Cancer Center for all they did and continue to do.
God Bless you all.

Esophagus Cancer

~In His Hands~

We know not what tomorrow brings ...
Although we plan ahead For only God alone can know ...
the pathway we must tread.

We cannot know the future ...
not one minute nor one hour Each circumstance that we must face ...
lay only in His power.

It's vital that we live by faith ...
from minute unto minute And trusting that each step we take ...
He's walking with us in it.

We cannot see the future ...
nor the trials we must face But in all things, God promised us ...
sufficiency of grace.

This alone should give us hope ...

in His sweet, loving hands.

By ~Betty Purser Patten~

If you need someone to talk to or have question you can e-mail me at or ICQ me 17354203
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