Adrenocortical cancer is a type of cancer that forms on the outer part of the adrenal gland. This area is known as the cortex and sits just above the kidney. The cortex makes steroid hormones and controls heart rate and blood pressure. Beginning as a tumor, if gone untreated, this rare cancer can quickly target nearby tissues.
Adrenocortical cancer Symptoms
Knowing what signs and symptoms to look for is the best way to prevent conditions, such as adrenocortical cancer, from reaching later stages where it is far more difficult to treat. Symptoms are much easier to notice in children than in adults because children commonly secrete hormones that call attention to an issue. Adrenocortical cancer symptoms:
- High blood pressure
- Lowered potassium levels
- Muscle cramps
- Signs of puberty earlier than anticipated (hair growth, bodily changes)
Some people do not experience any symptoms at all. If cancer runs in your family, make sure to speak with your doctor about regular checkups.
Adrenocortical cancer Causes
There are many environmental conditions as well as hereditary factors that play a role in the likelihood of getting adrenocortical cancer at some point in your lifetime. While we cannot avoid the hereditary causes, we can focus on the lifestyle changes we can make to avoid such cancers. As with many health conditions, prevention is key. Eating healthy, exercising and having regular checkups with your healthcare provider can be simple, yet life changing steps that make all the difference in the world. Potential causes of adrenocortical cancer are listed below.
- A diet high in fat
- Spending a lot of time seated
Adrenocortical cancer Diagnosis
In many cases, adrenocortical cancer begins in the body in the form of a different type of cancer that has spread to the adrenal glands through the bloodstream. If the cancer has started in a different location, it will be named after its original location. Adrenocortical cancer is commonly found during an imaging test where a doctor is looking for something else entirely. This accidental appearance can prove to be life saving. Looking for hormonal changes is an effective tool for diagnosing early, although most people are not diagnosed until they begin experiencing pain or other symptoms we will discuss below.
Adrenocortical cancer Treatment
There are a variety of treatment solutions that work very well for those diagnosed with adrenocortical cancer. They include surgery, vaccines, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and immunotherapy. The type of treatment required depends upon the stage of your cancer. More intense treatment may be required for those whose cancer is further along, or individuals who are not responding as strongly to treatment. In some cases, your doctor may want to remove your adrenal gland. If a patient suffers from other medical conditions and isn't considered healthy enough for surgery, there are medications available that block the unwanted hormones being created by the cancer.