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Lutheran Medical Center

Adrenal Cancer

Adrenal cancer means any normal cells in the adrenal glands, small organs that sit on top of each kidney, change into abnormal cells and grow out of control. If you have concerns, you can trust us to for educationearly detection and screening, what to expect and next steps after a diagnosis.

When you’re diagnosed, every day counts. If you are diagnosed with adrenal cancer, we’ll help you review and understand your options so you can quickly move to treatment.

Adrenal cancer detection and diagnosis

Some people with adrenal cancer have no symptoms. They find out they have it after their doctor does an imaging test for another reason.

The adrenal glands make various different hormones that have different functions within the body. So when adrenal cancer causes symptoms, it does this in different ways. Some adrenal cancers make abnormally high levels of hormones. Depending on the hormones involved, this can cause symptoms such as:

  • Weight gain
  • Muscle weakness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • A deep voice and increased hair growth, usually on the face (in women)

Adrenal cancer can also cause other symptoms that have nothing to do with abnormally high levels of hormones. These can include:

  • Pain in the belly, or on the side or lower back
  • Weight loss or loss of appetite

Doctors will need to do various tests for adrenal cancer including blood and urine tests to measure the levels of different hormones as well as imaging tests such as a CT or MRI scan to look at the organs. Your doctor will also look at these images for signs that the cancer has spread outside the adrenal gland. Doctors will give a "Staging Level" to cancers to determine the size and severity of the cancer, and to determine if a cancer has spread to other surrounding organs or to the lymph nodes.

Learn more about adrenal cancer and how it is diagnosed.

Read about our imaging services.

Innovative techniques and technologies offered

We target adrenal tumors with some of the most advanced treatments and technology available. In the hands of our experts, tools such as these can lead to optimal results and improved survival rates. Throughout our system, our advanced offerings include:

  • da Vinci® robot – A robotic surgical system designed to facilitate complex surgery using a minimally invasive approach. This system enables surgeons to make smaller, more precise movements with tiny instruments inside your body, which can help you heal more quickly.
  • TrueBeam™– A medical device that delivers a radiation beam to target cancer while exposing healthy cells to minimal radiation. No incisions are made; the noninvasive device rotates around the patient, delivering the radiation dose from different angles.
  • CyberKnife® – A robotic system that delivers a high dose of pin-point radiation directly to cancerous growths.

You will need to call your local hospital to learn which of these options are available in your area.

Treatment questions

At first, thinking about treatment options may seem overwhelming. Talk with your doctors, nurses, and loved ones. Make a list of questions. Consider the benefits and possible side effects of each option. Discuss your concerns with your doctor before making a decision.

Deciding on the best plan may take some time. Talk with your healthcare provider about how much time you can take to explore your options. You may want to get another opinion before deciding on your treatment plan. You may also want to involve your family and friends in this process.

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