NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms

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The NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms features 7,791 terms related to cancer and medicine.

Browse the dictionary by selecting a letter of the alphabet or by entering a cancer-related word or phrase in the search box.

adrenal cancer
(uh-DREE-nul KAN-ser)
Cancer that forms in the tissues of the adrenal glands (two glands located just above the kidneys). The adrenal glands make hormones that control heart rate, blood pressure, and other important body functions. Adrenal cancer that starts in the outside layer of the adrenal gland is called adrenocortical carcinoma. Adrenal cancer that starts in the center of the adrenal gland is called malignant pheochromocytoma.

EnlargeAnatomy of the adrenal gland; drawing of the abdomen showing the left and right adrenal glands, the left and right kidneys, and major blood vessels. A cross section of an adrenal gland is in an inset showing the adrenal cortex and the adrenal medulla.

Anatomy of the adrenal gland. There are two adrenal glands, one on top of each kidney. The outer part of each gland is the adrenal cortex; the inner part is the adrenal medulla.