Adrenal cancer

Adrenal cancer

The suprarenal gland is also called the adrenal gland in the medical literature. These triangular shaped glands are located behind the peritoneum and above the kidneys. The adrenals, located on each kidney in the body, secrete cortisol, adrenaline, aldosterone and noradrenaline as the body's most important hormones. The main function of these hormones is to regulate blood pressure, blood volume and blood pressure by affecting the body's salt and fluid levels.

“What is suprarenal?” The question is frequently asked. This condition, called adrenal gland cancer, is seen when cells proliferate uncontrollably in the adrenal gland form a mass. Adrenal tumors may occur as benign or malignant and may occur with metastasis to other organs.

Cancer of the adrenal gland, also called adrenal cancer, is part of a group of tumors called neuroendocrine tumors. These tumors can form in the hormone-producing glands in any part of the body, and adrenal cancer also occurs in the small glands. This type of cancer is one of the very rare cancers. Cancer-affected adrenal glands produce chemicals and hormones that are important to the body, affecting many things from hair growth to sex drive, from blood pressure to how to deal with stress.

This type of cancer varies from benign to malignant. Malignant tumors are as follows:

  • Adrenocortical carcinoma: This type of tumor occurs in the outer layer or cortex of the adrenal gland.
  • Malignant: It occurs in the middle part of the adrenal gland and is very rare.
  • Neuroblastoma: It is usually seen in children.
  • Malignant paraganglioma

Benign tumors are:

  • Adenoma
  • Paraganglioma


As seen in all types of cancer, there are also stages of adrenal gland cancer. These phases are:

  • Adrenal gland cancer Stage 1: The cancerous tissue in this stage is smaller than 5 cm in size.
  • Adrenal gland cancer Stage 2: The tissue is larger than 5 cm and is only inside the adrenal gland.
  • Adrenal gland cancer Stage 3: The cancerous tissue in this stage spreads to the lymph node or adipose tissue around the adrenal gland.
  • Adrenal gland cancer Stage 4: The cancerous tissue spreads to the surrounding organs at this stage.

Symptoms of adrenal gland cancer can be classified as common and less common symptoms. Common symptoms are as follows:

  • Excessive sweating
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Headache
  • Tremor
  • Increased heart rate
  • Shortness of breath
  • Panic attack-like symptoms

Less common symptoms are:

  • Constipation
  • Anxious mood
  • Losing weight

Symptoms experienced in case of excessive cortisol production:

  • A red and round face shape
  • Weakness in the muscles
  • Deepening of the voice
  • Weight gain in the trunk, face and neck region
  • Weakening of the legs and arms
  • Increased fat on the neck and back
  • Increase in hair growth on the arms, face and back of women
  • Loss of sexual desire
  • Elevation of blood sugar
  • Increased blood pressure

Symptoms observed in cases of excessive aldosterone production:

  • Increased thirst
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Starting to urinate frequently
  • Muscle weakness and cramps

Symptoms experienced in cases of high testosterone production do not usually cause complaints in men, but cause the following symptoms in women:

  • Increased arm, back and facial hair
  • Cessation of menstruation
  • Acne
  • Deepening of voice
  • Baldness

Symptoms seen in cases of excessive estrogen production:

  • Experiencing menstrual irregularities in non-menopausal women
  • The resumption of menstruation in women who have gone through menopause
  • Breast enlargement in men
  • Erectile dysfunction and sexual reluctance in men

A mass in the adrenal gland is usually diagnosed incidentally during imaging performed for different reasons. The biggest reason for this is that 10-15% of kidney cancer cases have visible symptoms. CT, MRI, ultrasound and other imaging techniques are used for diagnosis. In addition, physical examination, urine and blood tests are also helpful in diagnosis. When a suspicious lesion is detected as a result of imaging techniques, biopsy is usually performed and the sample taken from the patient is sent to the pathology laboratory to diagnose the type of cancer.

Surgery is the most commonly used method in the treatment of adrenal gland cancer. In the case of adrenal cancer that is diagnosed at an early stage and has not spread, the tumor is surgically removed. However, for the treatment of adrenal gland cancer, patients are treated with drugs for a certain period of time before the operation. In addition, adrenal gland cancer that has spread is treated with chemotherapy. Apart from chemotherapy, it is aimed to kill cancerous cells with radiation therapy or radiation beams.

“How to detect adrenal gland cancer?” As well as the question of who is experiencing this type of cancer more frequently. As with many types of cancer, there are some conditions that increase the risk of adrenal cancer. Environmental factors, lifestyle, smoking, exposure to carcinogens, age and genetics are among these conditions.

“Does the adrenal gland kill cancer?” It is among the most frequently asked questions about this cancer, and this question can be answered as kidney and adrenal gland cancer, also called adrenal cancer, causes serious health problems because it interferes with the functions of the kidney and impairs the function of the adrenal glands, which perform important functions. In addition, the life expectancy of adrenal gland cancer differs significantly from patient to patient.

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