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Adrenal Gland Tumor Treatment

Adrenal Gland Tumor Treatment

Adrenal Gland Tumor Treatment

Adrenal Gland Tumor Treatment

Adrenal Gland Tumor Treatment

Adrenal Gland Tumor Treatment



Adrenal Gland Tumor Treatment

Adrenal Gland Tumor

Overview

Each person has two adrenal glands, one located on top of each of the body’s two kidneys. These glands are important to the body’s endocrine (hormonal) system. Each adrenal gland has two main parts, which function separately:

  • Adrenal cortex. The outer part of the adrenal gland is called the cortex. The adrenal cortex makes three hormones: cortisol, aldosterone, and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). These hormones carefully control metabolism and body characteristics, such as hair growth and body shape.
  • Adrenal medulla. The gland’s inner part is called the medulla. The adrenal medulla makes other hormones: epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine. These hormones control the body’s responses to stress, including the “fight or flight” adrenaline surge.


Adrenal Gland Tumor Treatment
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Types of adrenal gland tumors

A tumor begins when cells become abnormal and grow uncontrollably, forming a mass. A tumor can be benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous, meaning it can spread to other parts of the body).
An adrenal gland tumor can sometimes overproduce hormones. When it does, the tumor is called a functioning tumor. An adrenal gland tumor that does not produce hormones is called a nonfunctioning tumor. A tumor can start in an adrenal gland (called a primary adrenal tumor) or it can begin in another organ, such as the lungs, and then metastasize (spread) to the adrenal glands.

This section focuses on primary adrenal gland tumors, which include:
Adenoma. Adenoma is the most common type of adrenal gland tumor, making up 99% of all adrenal gland tumors. It is a noncancerous nonfunctioning tumor of the adrenal cortex. Also called an adrenocortical adenoma, this tumor usually does not cause symptoms, and, if it is small, often does not require any treatment.

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Adrenocortical carcinoma.

Although very rare, the most common type of cancerous adrenal gland tumor begins in the cortex and is called adrenocortical carcinoma, or adrenal cortical carcinoma. Approximately 4 to 12 people out of 1 million develop this type of tumor. Adrenocortical carcinoma can be a functioning or nonfunctioning tumor; if the tumor is functioning, it may produce more than one hormone.

Neuroblastoma.

This is a type of childhood cancer that can begin in the adrenal medulla. For more information.

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Pheochromocytoma.

Most cases of this type of cancerous neuroendocrine tumor begin in the adrenal medulla.
The symptoms and treatment of an adrenal gland tumor depend on whether the tumor is functioning or nonfunctioning, and what hormone(s) is overproduced, and whether the tumor is a primary adrenal gland tumor or metastases from cancer of another organ.


Statistics

A primary adrenal gland tumor is very uncommon, and exact statistics are not available for this type of cancer in the United States. It is estimated that approximately 300 adults in the United States are diagnosed each year with adrenal cortical cancer. This type of cancer is much less common than an adrenal adenoma, a benign tumor that is more common for middle-age and older adults. The average age of a person diagnosed with an adrenal gland tumor is between 45 and 50; however, these tumors can occur at any age. More women then men tend to be diagnosed with adrenal gland tumors.
Cancer statistics should be interpreted with caution. These estimates are based on data from thousands of cases of this type of cancer in the United States, but the actual risk for a particular individual may differ. It is not possible to tell a person how long he or she will live with an adrenal gland tumor.

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Adrenal Gland Tumor Treatment

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Adrenal Gland Tumor Treatment

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