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Adrenal cancer is a rare but very aggressive tumor. According to clinical statistics, it mostly develops in people after 40-50 years old. More than half of the patients among them are women. Since the adrenal glands are endocrine organs, the tumor is usually hormonally active in 2 out of 3 patients. German hospitals use innovative treatment methods to treat this malignant pathology, which allow achieving excellent results even at the advanced stages of cancer.
- Standard treatment methods and their disadvantages
- The very latest and the most effective treatment for stage 4 adrenal cancer in Germany
- Why is adrenal cancer treatment more effective in Germany?
- Hospitals and costs of treatment
- How to undergo treatment in Germany?
Standard treatment methods and their disadvantages
Stage 4 adrenal cancer is characterized by the development of distant metastases in the lymph nodes, other organs and systems (metastatic cancer). They most often develop in the lungs and liver. If the tumor is hormonally active, adrenal hormones are then also released in excess amounts, which contribute to various metabolic disorders.
Currently, the most common treatment methods are chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery. However, they are often performed according to outdated protocols, which have many disadvantages:
- Classical chemotherapy affects not only on the tumor, but also on the healthy cells. As a result, the body is greatly weakened and immunity decreases.
- Radiation therapy also affects the body systemically, causing various severe complications.
- Open surgical procedures involve a large area of intervention, due to which the patients recover for a long time.
- All these methods are ineffective, unable to completely cure the disease and increase the patients' life expectancy.
European hospitals practice improved standard treatment options, which are less toxic and minimize the risk of negative symptoms.
The very latest and the most effective treatment for stage 4 adrenal cancer in Germany
German hospitals use new treatment techniques for stage 4 adrenal cancer. They can prolong and improve the patients' lives, as well as eliminate complications. The most effective among them are embolization, chemotherapy, various radiation techniques, immunotherapy and minimally traumatizing surgical interventions.
Embolization of metastases
Embolization is a method, which involves blocking the vessels from which the tumor receives blood. This occurs due to the injection of emboli containing various substances into the arterial lumen. Emboli are delivered to the blood vessels using a catheter inserted through a small incision in the groin. As a result, the tumor stops developing after a while due to the lack of nutrients for its functioning.
There is also a special variant of procedure – transarterial chemoembolization. It involves the use of microspheres as emboli, which include chemotherapy drugs – cytostatics. Chemoembolization in the treatment of adrenal cancer allows the doctors to additionally affect the tumor with high doses of chemotherapy drugs. For several weeks, they are evenly released from the microspheres, without causing systemic side effects in most patients. After this procedure, the pathological tissues die off quickly.
Embolization can be used as a standalone procedure or as the preparation for surgery. In stage 4 adrenal cancer, it is required to prolong the patient's life and is often combined with other treatment methods. As a preoperative procedure, it is more often performed for large tumors with ample blood supply.
The results of embolization are as follows:
- Reduced tumor size.
- Reduced blood loss during the operation.
- Reduced risk of complications during and after surgery.
- Stable blood circulation and reduced possibility of cardiovascular complications.
- Ceased progression of the pathological process.
Stage 4 adrenal cancer often spreads liver metastases. To destroy them, doctors use hepatic artery chemoembolization. This procedure allows them to reduce the size of metastatic foci several times while preserving liver function.
Chemotherapy is a medical treatment with drugs that acts on cancer cells. The doctors in Germany usually use an Italian protocol (EPD-M) for chemotherapy, which demonstrates the best survival rates of patients. It involves the constant use of combinations of chemotherapy agents. The use of this scheme can significantly increase the life expectancy of patients. Many of them can live for several years after diagnosis.
Chemotherapy for stage 4 adrenal cancer usually involves the administration of the inhibitors of adrenal cortex. At the early stages of adrenal cancer, such druds are used in monotherapy. At the advanced stage of pathology, they are supplemented with 1-3 innovative chemotherapy agents.
New radiation techniques
Adrenal cancer refers to tumors, which are insensitive to radiation. Therefore, conventional types of radiation therapy do not always ensure a sufficient effect. The indicators can be improved with an increased radiation dose, but in this case the risk of post-radiation complications will be high, since not only pathological, but also healthy tissues are more irradiated.
German hospitals use modern radiation therapy methods, which make it possible to increase the dose of radiation for the tumor without increasing toxicity to the healthy tissues. These include:
- Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) is a radiation therapy method, which can be used to irradiate cancer from different angles while simultaneously adjusting the intensity of the exposure.
- Stereotactic radiation therapy is a high-precision technology of radiosurgery with the use of sophisticated equipment. It allows the doctors to set the coordinates of the irradiation with millimeter accuracy and carry out the procedure sparingly.
- Brachytherapy is a type of radiation therapy, in which a radiation source is placed inside the patient's body using radioactive seeds. The last ones are injected directly into the area of the tumor process, where they are evenly distributed in the tissues. At the same time, the beams do not pass through the healthy tissues, which reduces the risk of complications.
Radiation methods are usually combined with partial removal of the tumor. Instead of surgery, they are used to suppress the primary tumor in cases when surgery is contraindicated. Radiation therapy is often used for the treatment of bone metastases. It reduces the risk of pathological fractures and reduces pain.
Some primary tumors are not very large and can be totally removed, but many patients require a surgical removal of the adrenal gland. Since the tumor produces hormones causing systemic symptoms, the intervention is required to eliminate them. As a rule, open surgery becomes an option of choice, but in Germany it can be performed using laparoscopic equipment. This technique is less traumatic, gives less complications and provides a quick postoperative recovery.
Laparoscopic operations are also performed in cases when adrenal cancer is a consequence of oncology in other organs. German hospitals use modern laparoscopic techniques to remove the tumor without spreading malignant cells in the abdominal cavity. Studies show that laparoscopic removal of metastases allows achieving good survival rates and reducing the risk of recurrence as compared to standard open procedures.
The success of laparoscopic treatment is also related to the characteristics of the tumor. In most cases, adrenal metastases are small and less aggressive than primary adrenal malignancies.
Immunotherapy is a drug treatment, which blocks specific protein molecules on the surface of cancer cells (checkpoint inhibitors). Thanks to them, the malignant tumor evades the immune response and rapidly increases in size. As soon as the drugs suppress the activity of these proteins, the immune system independently begins to effectively counteract cancer.
Checkpoint inhibitors targeting PD-L1 proteins have shown excellent results in the treatment of stage 4 adrenal cancer. They are used in cases when pathological cells contain these molecules. It is possible to control the disease in 25% of patients with their help, and in 10% of patients the tumor and metastases are reduced in size by more than 30%.
Why is adrenal cancer treatment more effective in Germany?
Even stage 4 adrenal cancer treatment can be successful. Although these tumors are very aggressive, the introduction of new treatment approaches has significantly improved the patients' survival rate. In Germany, more than a third of patients with metastases live more than 5 years after diagnosis.
This became possible due to the following advantages:
- All surgical procedures are performed using safe methods, which ensure rapid recovery of the patient.
- German hospitals employ top-class specialists who undergo long-term training and receive relevant qualifications.
- Clinical trials are carried out in almost every medical facility in Germany, which makes it possible to be the first in the introduction of new treatment technologies.
- Availability of the best innovative drugs and state-of-the-art equipment.
- Due attention is paid to the recovery of patients after medical procedures.
The medical staff carefully monitors the well-being of patients and does everything possible for a comfortable stay of patients in the hospital.
Hospitals and costs of treatment
Surgeons, oncologists and endocrinologists are involved in the treatment of adrenal cancer. The joint work of doctors allows for getting rid of the tumor and its metastases, as well as normalizing the level of hormones. The following hospitals are the leaders in the treatment of adrenal cancer:
- University Hospital of Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich, Department of Adult and Pediatric Urology
- Urology Hospital Munich-Planegg Munich, Department of Adult and Pediatric Urology
- University Hospital Ulm, Department of Adult and Pediatric Urology
- University Hospital Heidelberg, Department of Adult and Pediatric Urology
- Charite University Hospital Berlin, Department of Adult and Pediatric Urology
The cost of treatment depends on the hospital and the method used by the attending physician:
- Tumor resection for adrenal cancer – from €9,065
- Radiation therapy for adrenal cancer – from €13,800
- Treatment of adrenal cancer with embolization or chemoembolization – from €23,810
- Chemotherapy for adrenal cancer – from €2,065
- Rehabilitation after completion of the main treatment course – from €951 per day
How to undergo treatment in Germany?
To undergo treatment of stage 4 adrenal cancer in the best oncology hospitals in Germany, you can use the services of Booking Health. The qualified specialists of our company will take care of all the organizational aspects, which include the following services:
- Selection of the most suitable medical center for your diagnostics and treatment in Europe
- Preparation of a treatment program considering all previously performed procedures
- Doctor's appointment on the desired date and a preliminary consultation
- Control of the medical program at all its stages
- Assistance in buying and forwarding medicines
- Monitoring of invoices and return of unspent funds
- Prices will be reduced for you – the cost of medical services will be minimal due to the lack of coefficients for foreign patients (saving up to 50%)
- Booking Health employees will fully organize your trip abroad, book tickets, a hotel room, meet you at the airport and take you to the hospital by car
Our portal provides detailed information about the best hospitals in the world, treatment in Europe, doctors and the cost of treatment. To find out more detailed information, you can send a request on our website or contact us at the specified phone numbers.
Choose treatment abroad and you will get the best results surely!