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Adrenal cancer

  • Overview


    Adrenal cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the small triangular glands, also known as adrenal glands, located on top of the kidneys. These glands produce hormones that influence the functioning of various organs and tissues in the body.

    Adrenal cancer, also called adrenocortical cancer, can affect individuals of any age, but it is more commonly found in children younger than 5 and adults in their 40s and 50s.

    If adrenal cancer is detected early, there is a chance for a complete cure. However, if the cancer has spread to other body parts, the chances of a cure decrease. Treatment options can help delay the progression or recurrence of the disease.

    Most growths in the adrenal glands are not cancerous (benign). Non-cancerous adrenal tumours, such as adenoma or pheochromocytoma, can also develop in the adrenal glands.

  • Symptoms


    Signs and symptoms of adrenal cancer include:
    Weight gain
    Muscle weakness
    Pink or purple stretch marks on the skin
    Hormone changes in women that might cause excess facial hair, hair loss on the head and irregular periods
    Hormone changes in men that might cause enlarged breast tissue and shrinking testicles
    Abdominal bloating
    Back pain
    Loss of appetite
    Loss of weight without trying

  • When to see a doctor

  • Causes


    The exact cause of adrenal cancer remains unclear. However, it is believed to occur due to mutations in the DNA of adrenal gland cells. DNA instructs cells on how to function appropriately, but mutations can cause abnormal cells to multiply uncontrollably and survive longer than healthy cells. These abnormal cells accumulate and form a tumour, which can metastasise and spread to other body areas.

  • Risk factors


    Individuals with inherited syndromes that heighten the likelihood of specific cancers are more susceptible to adrenal cancer. Such syndromes comprise Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome, Carney complex, Li-Fraumeni syndrome, Lynch syndrome, and Multiple endocrine neoplasia, type 1 (MEN 1).

  • Prevention



  • *Please note that the information provided in the article is for reference purposes only. It is essential to consult a doctor before applying any of the suggestions mentioned.

Content Details

Medical info from Mayo Clinic, for reference only. Visit Hoan My for better advice.

Last updated on: 07/08/2023