What are the Symptoms of Adrenal Cancer?

What are the Symptoms of Adrenal Cancer?

Adrenal cancer, also known as adrenocortical carcinoma, is a rare and aggressive type of cancer that develops in the adrenal glands. These glands, located on top of each kidney, produce hormones that are vital for various bodily functions. Symptoms of adrenal cancer can vary, and they often result from the excess production of hormones or the physical presence of the tumor itself. Here are some common symptoms associated with adrenal cancer:

  1. Abdominal or Back Pain: Pain in the abdomen or lower back, typically on the side of the affected adrenal gland, can occur. The pain may be persistent or intermittent.
  2. Unintended Weight Loss: A sudden and unexplained weight loss is a common symptom of adrenal cancer. The weight loss can be significant and occur over a relatively short period.
  3. Abdominal Mass or Lump: A palpable mass or lump may be felt in the abdomen due to the presence of a tumor in the adrenal gland. This mass can be discovered during a physical examination.
  4. Hormonal Imbalances: Adrenal cancer often leads to the overproduction of hormones by the affected adrenal gland. This can cause a range of symptoms, including:
    • High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Excess production of aldosterone can lead to hypertension.
    • Irregular Menstruation: In women, hormonal imbalances can cause irregular menstrual periods.
    • Excessive Hair Growth (Hirsutism): Increased production of androgens can cause excessive hair growth, particularly in women.
    • Voice Deepening or Hoarseness: Changes in the voice may occur due to increased androgen levels.
    • Muscle Weakness: High levels of cortisol can cause muscle weakness.
  5. Fatigue and Weakness: Generalized fatigue, weakness, or a feeling of being unwell may be present, often as a result of the hormonal imbalances caused by the cancer.
  6. Fever: Some individuals with adrenal cancer may experience unexplained fever, which is typically low-grade and persistent.
  7. Loss of Appetite and Nausea: A decrease in appetite, persistent nausea, or feelings of being full even after eating small amounts of food may be observed.
  8. Night Sweats: Profuse sweating during the night, unrelated to room temperature or environmental conditions, can be a symptom of adrenal cancer.
  9. Anemia: Low levels of red blood cells (anemia) can occur, leading to fatigue, weakness, and shortness of breath.
  10. Digestive Problems: Some individuals may experience digestive issues such as diarrhea, constipation, or abdominal bloating.
  11. Painful Urination: Adrenal tumors can sometimes press on nearby structures, causing discomfort or pain during urination.

It’s important to note that these symptoms can also be associated with other medical conditions. If you experience persistent or concerning symptoms, especially those related to the adrenal glands or hormonal imbalances, it’s essential to seek medical attention for a thorough evaluation and diagnosis. Early detection and timely treatment of adrenal cancer are critical for improved prognosis and outcomes.

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