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Adrenal Cancer Surgery

Photo of surgery in progress

An operation called an adrenalectomy is commonly used to treat adrenal cancer, and offers the best chance for cure. During this surgery, the doctor takes out the adrenal gland. Surrounding tissues and lymph nodes may also be removed. Sometimes surgeons will remove tumors that have spread to other parts of the body (metastasized) in order to correct symptoms or to find out what they are.

The location for the surgical incision depends on the size of the tumor. An adrenalectomy may be done through an incision in the back, just below the ribs. This approach works well for small tumors. For larger cancers, the incision is made in the front of the abdomen. Sometimes a surgeon may use a laparoscope to remove the tumor. The laparoscope is a thin tube with a tiny video camera on the end that is inserted through a small opening in the patient's side.