Adrenocortical carcinoma, the one-in-a-million cruel disease afflicted by Anna “Chickadee” Cardwell that’s only discovered too late in two-thirds of cases.
Thursday, her family announced that Anna “Chickadee” Cardwell has been diagnosed with stage 4 adrenal cancer.
The 28-year-old “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” star’s cancer has spread from glands in her stomach to her liver, kidneys and lungs. She underwent a series of examinations, which revealed a precancerous growth after complaints of stomach pain.
Adrenal cancer is a rare but deadly form of the disease, with only a few hundred cases reported in the United States annually. Less than a hundred suffered in the UK. In two-thirds of cases, it is detected after it has already spread to other organs.
It usually develops when a person is less than five years old or between the ages of 40 and 50. This makes the Chikadee case a rarity.
28-year-old Anna “Chickadee” Cardwell (pictured) was diagnosed with stage IV adrenal cancer. She was diagnosed in January and has already started treatment
Mrs. Cardwell (center) has two daughters. She rose to fame from the reality TV show ‘Here Comes Honey Boo Boo’
If caught early, it can be surgically removed, giving the patient a 50 percent chance of survival for at least five years. Once it spreads, the survival rate drops dramatically – dropping to between 10 and 20 percent. Its low prevalence has made it difficult to detect because doctors don’t check it regularly.
Still (adrenal carcinoma) is a rare malignancy in the United States, research in New York City The team wrote in 2018.
However, most cases continue to be diagnosed only in advanced stages and are associated with poor survival.
The disease begins in the adrenal glands, which are small pockets atop a person’s kidneys that secrete the hormones adrenaline and norepinephrine.
The glands are responsible for helping regulate a person’s heart rate and other functions related to the cardiovascular system. them too They help activate a person’s “fight or flight” response during high stress situations.
The disease is thought to develop when the DNA of cells in the gland undergoes an unhealthy change and begins to multiply — although the exact cause remains unclear.
Like other types of cancer, malignant cells from the adrenal glands can break off and be transported by the circulatory system to another part of the body.
This causes the cancer to spread, making it more difficult to treat and significantly more deadly.
The adrenal glands are small sacs above the kidneys and are responsible for regulating the adrenaline system in the body.
Unlike many other types of cancer, doctors aren’t sure what puts someone at increased risk of developing this disease. There are no known risk factors.
This is partly because the disease is so rare that research on it has not been as extensive as other types of cancer.
About one in a million people will be diagnosed with this disease each year.
This means that the incidence rate in the United States is down about 350 cases each year.
The average age of diagnosis is 46 years. Though, it is also known to appear in young children.
If cancer is caught before it has spread to other parts of the body, doctors will recommend surgery to remove it, according to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
In these cases, the patient’s five-year survival rate is between 50 and 60 percent.
If it spreads — as reported in Chikadee — the survival rate drops to 10 to 20 percent, UCLA reports.
In these cases, the person is often treated with chemotherapy.
Cardwell’s condition was reported by TMZ on Thursday. Family sources told the outlet that the reality star received her diagnosis in January.
Sources said she underwent the first round of chemotherapy last month and lost her hair.
Doctors are waiting to see how treatment affects her before making any further decisions, but her family is “very hopeful” that she will beat the disease.