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Adrenal Cancer, Symptoms, Characteristics, Causes and Evaluation

Table of Contents

  1. Adrenal Cancer
  2. Characteristics of Adrenal Cortical Cancer
  3. Evaluation of a Suspected Adrenal Cortical Cancer
  4. Causes of Adrenal Cancer

Adrenal Cancer

Adrenal cancer is a rare cancer and affects only one to two person in a population of million. It normally affects adults and it can be diagnosed after 44 years of age. It is curable if diagnosed at early stages but it is seen that when we get aware of adrenal cancer it is no more confined to just adrenal glands. This is just because these tumors are found years after the first appear and can be easily passed on to the nearby organs. The can also be spread to distant organs a condition commonly known as metastasize and cause enormous and abrupt changes in body because of the production of hormones at irregular rate.

adrenal cancer

Characteristics of Adrenal Cortical Cancer

The common characteristics of adrenal cancer are:

  • It is typically an aggressive form of cancer.
  • In most of the cases it can be found easily almost in 60% cases it can be found early because due to the excessive hormone production patient need medical attention.
  • Most of the individual’s secret high amount of adrenal hormones.
  • Most tumors appear with pain in the abdomen and sometime in flank.
  • It can easily spread to distant organs like, lungs, abdominal cavity, bones and liver.

adrenal cortical cancer

Evaluation of a Suspected Adrenal Cortical Cancer

  • Blood Tests: It include the measurement of hormones in the blood as the disease is characterized by the excessive production if hormones such as testosterone, aldosterone, estrogen, cortisol etc. this is the best place to start diagnosis. But always keep in mind that that most of the non-cancerous tumors of adrenal hormones also secrete huge amount of hormones. So demonstrating your over production of the hormones may assist you to identify the presence of adrenal tumor but it is always found to be difficult to distinguish between the malignant and benign tumors. But extremely huge amount of hormone secretion is possibly due to the malignant tumors.
  • X-Ray Tests: X-ray is the most active and efficient technique in locating the adrenal cancer. It will also help to identify the type of cancer. The two central test under the heading if X-Ray include the CT scans (Central Tomography) and the MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging). Both of these test give almost the similar information so both are not necessary but it al depends on the situation.
  • Special Studies: Some adrenal cancers required specific and special studies of you blood supply, this will help to define the clear extent of tumor. This will also help to locate the other organs which are affected most probably by the blood supply and define the operational approach. These special test are known as adrenal venography and selective angiography. These studies also help to distinguish the adrenal caner from that of the cancer due to the upper pole of someone’s kidney.adrenal gland cancer

Causes of Adrenal Cancer

It is observed that most of the patients seek medical attention by noting a change in some part of the body which might appear slowly as over 1 to 3 years after the infection. In case of women when excess hormones are secreted they are very difficult to locate such as during the age of puberty or during vaginal bleeding during the post-menopausal stages. The same case can be observed in men for testosterone. This can be easily identified in cases when a female stars developing male characters or when male starts developing heavy breasts.  Some hormone production problems are given special names these include:

  • Hypercortisolism which is characterized by the excess cortisol production in the body.
  • Virilization characterized by the appearance of maleness in females due to testosterone secretion.
  • Adrenogenital syndrome, it is the production of excessive sex steroids
  • Feminization characterized by the appearance of female characters in males due to the excess of estrogen.
  • Hyperaldosteronism, it leads to the production of excessive aldosterone and lead to low potassium content and hypertension
  • Precocious pubertycharacterized by the appearance of early puberty due to secretion of sex steroids.

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