February 15, 2023
Adrenal gland tumors are abnormal growths that develop in the adrenal glands, which are small organs located on top of each kidney. These tumors can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous) and can produce excessive amounts of hormones, leading to numerous health complications. Benign tumors, such as adenomas, do not spread to other parts of the body and usually do not require aggressive treatment. On the other hand, malignant tumors, such as adrenocortical carcinomas can spread to other organs and require more aggressive treatment, such as surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
It is important to recognize the symptoms to receive appropriate treatment on time. Here are the initial signs that might be an indication of adrenal gland tumors.
If the tumor secrets hormones, the symptoms can include:
Blood and urine tests are recommended by doctors to get an accurate diagnosis. Some of the screenings included in blood and urine tests are as follows:
Blood & urine cortisol level: High levels of cortisol may indicate a tumor on the adrenal gland.
ACTH stimulation test: In this test, a synthetic form of ACTH is injected into the body, and the cortisol levels in the blood are measured before and after the injection.
Androgen tests: High levels of androgens may indicate a tumor on the adrenal gland that is producing too much of these hormones.
Aldosterone and renin test: High levels of aldosterone and low levels of renin may indicate a tumor.
Some of the imaging tests that may be performed to identify a tumor and determine its size and location include:
These imaging tests can provide detailed information about the size, location, and characteristics of an adrenal gland tumor, which can help guide treatment decisions.
A biopsy is a procedure in which a small sample of tissue is removed from the body and examined under a microscope to determine if it is cancerous or not. A biopsy is usually performed using one of the following methods:
A positron emission tomography (PET) scan is a type of imaging test that uses a small amount of a radioactive substance, called a tracer.
After receiving the tracer injection, the patient lies inside the PET scanner on a table. A scanner detects the tracer's energy and creates detailed images of the body. On a scan, tumors tend to absorb more tracer and appear brighter.
Surgery is one of the main treatment options for adrenal gland tumors, and it is often the first line of treatment for malignant tumors. The type of surgery performed depends on the size and location of the tumor, as well as the patient's overall health.
If the tumor is small and benign, a partial adrenalectomy may be performed, in which only the part of the gland containing the tumor is removed. It helps preserve more of the normal gland and can help minimize side effects. In some cases, if the tumor is found to be malignant, then surgery may be combined with other treatments such as radiation therapy or chemotherapy.
It is a treatment that uses high-energy radiation to destroy cancer cells. This therapy may be used as a primary treatment for adrenal gland tumors, or as an adjuvant treatment to surgery. Radiation therapy involves the use of a machine that directs radiation beams at the tumor from outside the body. It can also cause side effects which can be treated through medication once the therapy sessions are over.
A medical procedure that employs chemicals to kill cancer cells is called as chemotherapy. It may be used as a primary treatment for advanced or metastatic adrenal gland tumors, or as an adjuvant treatment to surgery or radiation therapy. Chemotherapy drugs are usually given through an IV (intravenous) line, but they can also be given orally. Cancer cells are killed by the medications as they circulate throughout the body in the bloodstream.
It is a type of treatment that targets specific molecules or proteins that are involved in the growth and spread of cancer cells. Targeted therapy may be used as a primary treatment for advanced or metastatic adrenal gland tumors, or in combination with other treatments such as surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy.
The chances of successful treatment are generally higher when the cancer is confined to the primary site. Therefore, it is crucial to note that early detection and treatment play the key roles in improving the outcomes of adrenal gland tumors. Seek medical attention at the earliest if you have symptoms. Make a consultation appointment with one of the top oncologists in Brooksville, Florida, at Advanced Cancer Treatment Centers.