Urology of Greater Atlanta

Adrenocortical Cancer Symptoms and Risk Factors

Adrenocortical cancer affects a very small percentage of the population. Fortunately, early detection and treatment can lead to a better outcome.

At Urology of Greater Atlanta, our expert urologists provide cancer treatment for the adrenal glands. Contact one of our offices in Georgia today to learn more about what our specialists can do to help.

What Is Adrenocortical Cancer?

Adrenocortical cancer (also called adrenocortical carcinoma, ACC) is a type of cancer that develops on the outer part of the adrenal gland, called the adrenal cortex.

There are two types of adrenocortical carcinoma. The two types of adrenocortical carcinoma are listed below.

  1. Functional adrenocortical carcinoma tumor — With this type of tumor, your adrenal gland will produce more hormones than usual.
  2. Non-functional adrenocortical carcinoma tumor — This type of tumor has no effect on hormone production.

Causes of Adrenocortical Carcinoma

There are no known causes of adrenal tumors. However, it has been noted that half of those diagnosed have a family history of the disease. Certain genetic disorders can also increase the chances of developing adrenal cancer.

What Are the Adrenocortical Cancer Symptoms?

Adrenocortical carcinoma can cause symptoms in two different ways. The two different types of symptoms caused by adrenocortical carcinoma are listed below.

  1. Symptoms related to the overproduction of hormones.
  2. Symptoms related to the growth of the adrenal tumor.

Symptoms of adrenocortical carcinoma will therefore depend on how the adrenal tumor is developing. Listed below are some symptoms of adrenocortical carcinoma.

  1. Growth of facial and body hair in women
  2. Breast enlargement in boys and men
  3. Deepening of voice
  4. Disruption of menstruation
  5. Development of acne
  6. High blood pressure
  7. High blood sugar
  8. Changes in weight
  9. Weight gain in the face, neck, and belly, but not in the arms or legs.
  10. Pain in the abdomen
  11. Back pain
  12. Muscle weakness

If you are concerned about any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek a proper diagnosis from a professional.

How Adrenocortical Carcinoma Is Diagnosed

A diagnosis of adrenocortical carcinoma is made through various tests and exams to identify the disease.

At Urology of Greater Atlanta, we will first discuss your symptoms and perform a physical exam. If the symptoms point toward adrenocortical carcinoma, it may be recommended that you will go through some further testing, including blood tests and urine tests.

Your doctor might also recommend a CT scan, an MRI, or a PET scan to evaluate your adrenal cortex. A skilled urologist might also recommend a biopsy of the adrenal gland to check for abnormal cells or other signs of cancer.

How Is Adrenocortical Cancer Treated?

The team at Urology of Greater Atlanta offers a variety of treatments for adrenocortical cancer, depending on the severity of your condition and your overall health needs.

Adrenocortical carcinoma treatment will usually begin by removing the tumor. This may involve removing the entire adrenal gland.

The doctors may also need to remove other tissue surrounding the adrenal gland if cancer cells are detected. If cancer has spread, then the following treatments may also be implemented:

  • Medication
  • Radiotherapy
  • Chemotherapy

Adrenal Cancer Prognosis

Your prognosis or outcome will depend on your tumor’s size and the adrenal gland back pain location. Patients will usually experience a better outcome when the tumor is still small or while the patient is still in his younger years of life. However, if the cancer cells have spread to other parts of the body, the overall outcome may become a little more serious.

Fortunately, it is possible to completely remove this type of cancer from your body. However, if the cancer has spread to other body parts, it may be more difficult to treat. New treatments continue to be developed, which are proving to be very successful in improving the survival rates for people with adrenocortical carcinoma.

Key Takeaway Regarding Adrenocortical Cancer

Adrenocortical carcinoma is more likely to develop in those with a genetic disposition to the disease. The most common symptoms are related to changes in your hormone levels. And the good news is that early detection and treatment can lead to a better outcome.

Call Urology of Greater Atlanta or make an appointment now if you have any concerns about adrenocortical cancer. Our expert team in Georgia is ready to provide you with the help you need!

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