Adrenal cancer is rare but potentially lethal malignancy of the adrenal gland that can result in overproduction of hormones. If the tumor is found at the early stage it can be removed surgically.
The adrenal glands are located in the upper abdomen above the kidneys. There are several parts to the adrenal – the cortex produces corticosteroid hormones like testosterone, the medulla produces adrenalines.
Most adrenal tumors are not malignant cancers and are usually found by coincidence on imaging. Some adrenal cancers are related to genetic factors (familial syndromes), while others are sporadic (not inherited). Adrenal cancers can be functional (producing hormones and causing symptoms accordingly) or non-functional (not producing hormones but can cause local symptoms like pain). The symptoms of hormone production depend on the location of the tumor in the adrenal gland, and the hormone it is making. If there is an excess of Cortisol for example, patients may experience weight gain, the face becoming round, bruising, sweating, change in body hair growth/patterns.