Adrenal cancer is a relatively common type of cancer that can occur in both children and adults. Adrenal cancer affects the adrenal glands, which are located on top of each kidney. There are two in total. Adrenal glands are tiny, weighing only around 10 grams, and realize an essential function in the body. Adrenal glands are responsible for the endocrine system, meaning the production of different hormones. If you develop adrenal cancer, you may notice a variety of symptoms.
Excessive Growth of Body Hair
Adrenal cancer causes a variety of symptoms that affect different parts of the body. Changes in hormone production cause most symptoms. In general, the excess production of hormones can lead to an increased growth of body hair, especially in the armpits, genitals, and bottom. The main hormones that can provoke such symptoms are androgen, estrogen, and cortisol. All of these are related to the adrenal gland. The amount of body hair growth depends on the size of the tumor as well as the severity of the cancer. If you are unsure about your body hair growth, consult your doctor.
Adrenal gland cancer symptoms can vary depending on the age and physical condition of the patient. That’s why symptoms are different for children and adults. In children, symptoms can be easier to distinguish because physical changes are more active and pronounced. They can be spotted during puberty, and affect different parts of the body. For example, many children may experience unusual changes in physical development or changes that should not occur at their age. One potential symptom of adrenal gland cancer is early puberty, especially in girls. If you notice any weird changes, consult your doctor.
You may know that for most cancers, one of the most recognizable symptoms is weight loss, which may indicate that cancer has spread to other parts of the body. However, for adrenal cancer, one indication that you should look out for is weight gain. Weight gain may be gradual or severe. You can track your weight by writing down how much you weigh over time. Unfortunately, for many people, symptoms only develop after the tumor is large enough to cause trouble to other organs such as the kidneys or spleen. It’s important to get routine check-ups to detect early symptoms.
Another important warning sign of adrenal cancer is easy bruising. This means that your skin is more prone to blue, purple, and even black marks as a result of an injury. Even a slight fall can cause your skin to become bruised. Moreover, you may spot bruises in different parts of the body, so be sure to keep an eye on your skin’s appearance. Easy bruising may also be caused by a variety of other conditions, some less severe than cancer. Easy bruising has to do with the amount of hormones in the body, which are produced by the adrenal glands.
You can experience a range of symptoms due to adrenal cancer, some that are physical – meaning that they affect the body – and others that affect emotional well-being. When it comes to the latter, depression is often one of the main symptoms, and in most cases, is caused by an increase or excess production of cortisol. Cortisol is an important hormone, and it is produced by the adrenal cortex, the outer part of the adrenal gland. It is also responsible for producing two other important hormones including aldosterone. Metabolism is also related to this section of the adrenal gland.
Another symptom that many people with adrenal cancer experience are muscle cramps, which are troublesome and induce high amounts of pain. One of the most important parts of the adrenal gland is the adrenal medulla. This part is located in on the inner side of the glands and is responsible for three important hormones that regulate stress levels. Moreover, these hormones are responsible for regulating the body’s “fight or flight” mechanism, which means that it is directly responsible for our reaction to dangerous, life-threatening situations. If the tumor grows large, it can press on surrounding areas, causing pain.
The presence of adrenal cancer can influence the frequency of urination. If you have adrenal cancer, you may notice yourself going to the bathroom more frequently, even though you haven’t started drinking more water. Adrenal cancer can also press on the kidney, interrupting or impairing kidney function. It’s not exactly clear what causes adrenal cancer; in fact, around 85% of all adrenal cancers occur for unknown reasons. In other cases, genetics are to blame and are responsible for up to 15% of all cases. To reduce your risk of adrenal cancer, drink more water and maintain a healthy diet.
A frequent symptom of adrenal cancer is an enlarged clitoris. While this doesn’t always mean that you have adrenal cancer, it is a major factor that has to be analyzed during a medical examination. Younger girls who are going through puberty must pay especially close attention to their clitoris. If the clitoris is enlarged, it might mean that the body is producing high amounts of hormones that cause its size to grow larger than usual. To confirm if adrenal cancer is present, your doctor will conduct a medical history coupled with a physical exam. A blood test is also routinely used.
Conn’s syndrome is a condition that is caused by a growth of the adrenocortical tissue, and is a potential symptom of adrenal cancer. It causes a range of symptoms to occur, such as high blood pressure. It can also cause drastically decreased levels of potassium in the blood, as well as different hormones. As a result, you may experience generalized weakness as well as pain and cramping in the muscles. It’s important to consult your doctor as soon as possible if you experience these symptoms, as adrenal cancer prognosis is much higher when treatment is initiated early on.
A multitude of changes takes place in the body during puberty. Puberty is a natural process that everyone goes through in their early teenage years. However, if the hormones responsible for puberty are not produced in the right quantities, abnormal changes can take place, including an enlarged penis. Tumors can form in the adrenal gland, causing a mass to develop. As the mass grows, it can impair the correct functioning of the adrenal gland, and symptoms can worsen. If no treatment is initiated, cancer can spread to other parts of the body, including the bones or the lungs.