The stage of cancer tells how much and how far the disease has spread. By using exams and tests, a doctor can tell the stage of a person's adrenal cancer. A cancer's stage is one of the most important factors in deciding what treatment to have for the cancer and the prognosis.
There are four stages of adrenal cancer, shown in Roman numerals going from I (the earliest stage) to IV (the most advanced stage):
Stage I. The tumor is 5 centimeters (cm) or less across and the cancer has not spread outside the adrenal gland. Five cm is about 2 inches.
Stage II. The tumor is larger than 5 cm (2 inches) across and the cancer has not spread outside the adrenal gland.
Stage III. The tumor has either grown into the fat outside the adrenal gland or has spread to neighboring lymph nodes.
Stage IV. The tumor has grown into the fat outside the adrenal gland and nearby lymph nodes, or it has grown into nearby organs, or it has spread to distant areas.
Recurrent. Recurrent cancer means that the cancer has come back after it has been treated.