Adrenal cancer symptoms can vary - you may notice several or none at all. Some people notice signs shortly after a tumor develops; others notice nothing out of the ordinary until a tumor becomes large enough to press on nearby organs.
Most adrenal cancer symptoms develop as the result of a functional tumor, or a tumor that produces its own hormones. These symptoms can be especially noticeable if a patient’s tumor produces hormones that are usually associated with the opposite sex. For instance, men who have estrogen-producing tumors may experience breast enlargement or tenderness, while women with androgen-producing tumors may develop excess body hair or find that their voices start to deepen.
Additional hormone-related symptoms include:
- Irregular menstrual cycles (in women)
- Early onset of puberty
- Changes in sexual libido
- Enlargement of the penis (in men) or clitoris (in women)
- Unexplained weight gain (especially in the abdominal region)
- Frequent mood swings or emotional changes
- High blood sugar or blood pressure
- Muscle weakness
- Frequent muscle cramps
Sometimes, large adrenal tumors can press on nearby organs, including the kidneys and stomach. This can cause additional symptoms, such as persistent pain and swelling, appetite loss and difficulty eating, excessive urination and low potassium levels.
Although these symptoms do not always mean that adrenal cancer is present, it’s important to discuss any such concerns with an experienced physician so that he or she can determine if screening tests are necessary. In the unlikely event that an adrenal tumor is present, early detection can lead to a greater range of treatment options. Survival rates are also the highest for adrenal cancers that are diagnosed and treated during early stages of their development.
At Moffitt Cancer Center, we offer comprehensive diagnostic services to patients who are experiencing adrenal cancer symptoms, as well as a full scope of treatments to patients with an adrenal cancer diagnosis. To discuss your medical history and symptoms with an oncologist who specializes in adrenal cancers, call 1-888-663-3488 or submit a new patient registration form online.