Adrenal cancer — causes, side effects and treatments at NaturalPedia.com

Wednesday, January 03, 2018 by

Adrenal cancer is a disease that occurs when abnormal cells form in or travel to the adrenal glands. The human body has two adrenal glands, one above each kidney.

Adrenal cancer commonly occurs in the adrenal cortex (the outermost layer of the glands), and it usually appears as a tumor. A cancerous tumor of the adrenal gland is an adrenal cortical carcinoma while a noncancerous tumor of the adrenal gland is a benign adenoma.

Benign adenomas are rather small, and they often measure less than two inches in diameter. Meanwhile, adrenal cortical carcinomas are often much larger than benign adenomas. A tumor bigger than two inches in diameter is usually cancerous.

Known side effects of adrenal cancer

Symptoms of adrenal cancer manifest because of the excess production of the hormones (e.g. androgen, estrogen, cortisol, and aldosterone). Large tumors pressing on organs of the body can also cause these symptoms.

Symptoms of excessive androgen or estrogen production are more obvious in children since physical changes are more pronounced during puberty. Some signs of adrenal cancer in children include:

  • Excessive pubic, underarm, and facial hair growth
  • An enlarged penis
  • An enlarged clitoris
  • Large breasts in boys
  • Early puberty in girls

Several conditions may put you at an increased risk of developing adrenal cancer:

  • Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome — An abnormal growth disorder marked by a large body and organs.
  • Li-Fraumeni syndrome — An inherited disorder that causes an increased risk for many types of cancers.
  • Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) — An inherited condition characterized by large numbers of polyps in the large intestines.
  • Smoking — Smoking allegedly increases the risk of adrenal cancer, but there is no conclusive proof yet.

Body systems harmed by adrenal cancer

Excessive levels of cortisol often cause Cushing syndrome. Some people have all of these symptoms, but many people with high cortisol levels only have one or two. These include:

  • Weight gain, usually greatest above the collarbone and around the abdomen
  • Fat deposits behind the neck and shoulders
  • Purple stretch marks on the abdomen
  • Excessive hair growth on the face, chest, and back in women
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Weakness and loss of muscle mass in the legs
  • Easy bruising
  • Depression and/or moodiness
  • Weakened bones (osteoporosis), which can lead to fractures
  • High blood sugar, often leading to diabetes
  • High blood pressure

Food items or nutrients that may prevent adrenal cancer

These foods can facilitate the healing of your adrenal glands:

  • Foods rich in vitamin B — All the B vitamins are necessary for adrenal function, especially B5 or pantothenic acid.
  • Foods rich in vitamin C — The adrenals need vitamin C to produce cortisol, the stress hormone.
  • Foods rich in L-tyrosine — L-tyrosine is needed for adrenal function because it relieves excess stress on the glands.

Treatments, management plans for adrenal cancer

Early treatment can sometimes cure adrenal cancer, and there are currently three major types of standard treatment for the disease:

  • Surgery/adrenalectomy — Involves the removal of the adrenal gland
  • Radiation therapy –– This treatment uses high-energy X-rays to kill cancer cells and stop new cancer cells from growing.
  • Chemotherapy –– This form of cancer drug therapy helps stop the growth of cancer cells, and chemotherapy can be administered orally or injected into a vein or muscle.
  • Ablation — Defined as the destruction of tumor cells, ablation may be necessary for tumors that are unsafe to remove surgically.
  • Mitotane — This is the most common drug used in the treatment of adrenal cancer. It can block excessive hormone production and can help decrease the size of a tumor.

Where to learn more

Summary

Adrenal cancer is a disease that occurs when abnormal cells form in or travel to the adrenal glands.

Symptoms of adrenal cancer manifest because of the excess production of the hormones (e.g. androgen, estrogen, cortisol, and aldosterone). Large tumors pressing on organs of the body can also cause these symptoms.

Sources include

HealthLine.com

Cancer.org

LiveStrong.com



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