Symptoms of stage 4 adrenal gland cancer vary from person to person. The disease may affect hormone production, which can cause symptoms such as changes in menstruation or hair growth. As the tumor grows, it may also cause pain and discomfort.
Adrenal cancer is a
The adrenal glands have two parts, each of which makes a different set of hormones.
The cortex, or the outer part, makes:
- cortisol, which helps the body handle stress
- aldosterone, which helps control the amount of salt in the blood and blood pressure
- adrenal androgens, which the body can convert into the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone
The medulla, or the inner part, makes norepinephrine and epinephrine. These hormones play an important role in the body’s natural fight-or-flight response.
- the size of the tumor
- whether the tumor has spread to nearby lymph nodes
- whether the tumor has spread to distant lymph nodes or other organs
Stage 4 cancer means the cancer has spread to other organs. It is the most advanced stage of cancer. Symptoms of late stage adrenal cancer vary widely from person to person.
This article will cover the symptoms, causes, treatment, and outlook of stage 4 adrenal cancer.
Adrenal cancer can cause symptoms in two different ways.
It can change the way the adrenal glands make hormones, sometimes making extra hormones that the body does not need, and it can press on the tissues around the glands.
The symptoms differ from person to person but might include:
- high blood pressure
- heart palpitations
- low potassium levels
- excessive sweating
- pain in the abdomen
- changes in menstruation
- unexpected weight gain or loss
- stretch marks on the abdomen
- excess hair growth
- genital changes
- loss of sex drive
Some people with adrenal cancer may also develop diabetes, panic attacks, or acne.
Children with adrenal cancer
Cancers are collections of cells.
Cancers can develop anywhere in the body. Doctors call cancers that develop in the adrenal glands adrenal cancers. They are very rare. Around
Tumors can develop in the cortex or the medulla. Doctors may refer to cancers of the cortex as “adrenal cortex carcinomas” and cancers of the medulla as “neuroblastomas.”
Anyone who experiences symptoms of adrenal cancer should speak with a doctor as soon as possible. The earlier a person receives a diagnosis, the more treatment options will be available.
However, according to the
Experts do not know what causes the uncontrolled cell multiplication that leads to adrenal cancer.
However, some risk factors
- exposure to carcinogens
- lack of physical activity
Some genetic health conditions are also risk factors for adrenal cancer. They include:
- Li-Fraumeni syndrome
- Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome
- multiple endocrine neoplasia (MEN1)
- familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP)
- Lynch syndrome, or hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC)
To treat stage 4 adrenal cancer, doctors
- surgery to remove the bulk of the tumor from the adrenal gland and lower the volume of extra hormones the tumor makes
- radiation therapy
Treatment for late stage or stage 4 adrenal cancer typically focuses on easing symptoms.
Doctors tend to explain the outlook in terms of 5-year survival rates. A 5-year survival rate refers to the percentage of people who live for at least 5 years after a diagnosis.
Advanced adrenal cancer has a
However, it is important to remember that these figures are only a guide. Everyone responds to treatment differently.
Adrenal cancer is a rare cancer that develops in the adrenal glands. Stage 4 adrenal cancer refers to cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.
Symptoms can arise due to cancer-related hormone changes or the tumor pushing on nearby tissues. Symptoms might include changes in sex drive or menstruation, headaches, or anxiety.
Treatment for stage 4 adrenal cancer usually focuses on symptom relief.