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What is ACC?

    Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma (ACC) is a slow-spreading rare cancer with unpredictable tendencies. This cancer is progressive and unforgiving, with inclinations to spread to nearby nerve tissues or other parts of the body. Before the cancer metastases, 58% of the original tumors form in the oral cavity; however, it can also start in thirty-eight different organs. Because it mostly starts in the oral cavity, ACC is often grouped as oral cancer and a salivary gland tumor. In reality, ACC can present itself in all secretory glands. 

   Approximately 1,200 new people are diagnosed with Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma each year in the United States of America. About sixty percent of those new cases are women. Studies have shown that ACC is not an inheritable disease. It tends to develop from genetic alterations caused by the outside environment. While the specific cause is unknown, it is known to have no link to Tobacco and Alcohol usage. Research anterior to 2005 was very limited due to a lack of funding and resources. As a result of insufficient research, misdiagnosis as common body issues is seen often.

   Initial tumors are most commonly treated with surgical resection followed by radiation. Even after initial treatment and no recurrence at the initial tumor site, the likelihood of ACC metastasizing to other parts of the body is extremely high.

   The average diagnostic age is fifty-eight; however, ages can range from the teenage years to 70s-80s. “In a recent long term study conducted at MD Anderson Cancer Center with a study of 160 ACC patients, 89% of the patients survived for five years, but that was reduced to 40% at 15 years” (What is ACC?, accoi).

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