Your adrenal glands are located just above your kidneys and are responsible for producing steroid hormones that affect nearly every organ and tissue in the body. Adrenal cancer refers to growths on one or both of the adrenal glands. However, most adrenal tumors or growths that form are benign.
Sometimes referred to as adrenocortical cancer, adrenal cancer is most often diagnosed in children under the age of 5 and adults in their 40s and 50s, though it can potentially affect anyone of any age. This form of cancer is generally rare, affecting about 200 cancer patients in the United States every year.
Causes and Risk Factors
As with other forms of cancer, adrenal cancer is caused by a genetic mutation. This mutation causes cells in the adrenal gland to grow out of control, resulting in the formation of adrenal tumors. The exact cause of this mutation is not well known. Certain hereditary factors have been linked to adrenal cancer, but most cases of this disease are sporadic and triggered by unknown factors.
Risk factors for adrenal cancer can vary. Smoking, exposure to carcinogen, and other environmental factors can contribute to your risk of adrenal cancer. Some genetic syndromes have also been linked to adrenal cancer. These include:
- Li-Fraumeni syndrome
- Von Hippel-Lindau disease
- Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome
- Carney complex
- Lynch syndrome
- Multiple endocrine neoplasia, type 1
Early Detection, Diagnosis, and Staging
Symptoms of adrenal cancer can vary based on the severity and stage, but the most common symptoms include:
- Muscle weakness
- Weight gain
- In women, hormonal changes resulting in irregular periods, hair loss, or sudden excess facial hair growth
- In men, hormonal changes resulting in shrinking testicles or enlarged breast tissue
- Purple or pink stretch marks
- Abdominal bloating
- Back pain
- Sudden loss of appetite
- Unintentional weight loss
If suffering from these symptoms, doctors may perform a variety of tests to determine if you have adrenal cancer and to what extent. Blood and urine tests offer an easy way to identify unusual hormone levels produced by the adrenal glands. This may include cortisol, androgens (male sex hormones), and aldosterone.
Doctors may also perform magnetic resonance imaging tests to see any potential growths. A CT scan, MRI, or PET scan may be used to determine the size and location of growths on the adrenal gland, as well as any cancerous tissue that may have metastasized to other parts of the body.
If the doctor does believe that you have adrenal cancer, they may remove the affected adrenal gland through an adrenalectomy for lab analysis. Through this analysis, the doctor can determine the cells involved and the extent of growth.
Staging plays a critical role in developing an appropriate treatment plan and determining the most effective treatment. Metastatic adrenal cancer is categorized into four stages based on the tumor size and whether the cancer spreads to other parts of the body. Stage IV is the most severe and comprises malignant tumors that have spread throughout the body.
About Alternative/Natural Treatment of Adrenal Cancer
Treatment for adrenal cancer typically comprises one or a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and medication to reduce potential recurrence. While these treatments can be effective, they can also come with difficult side effects that can be tiring for you and challenging for your immune system, making it harder to fight off the disease. Alternative treatments offer natural solutions to maintain recovery while regulating side effects from more traditional treatments.
If you have been diagnosed with adrenal cancer, the Immunity Therapy Center offers a full range of alternative, natural treatments to help you manage it. Our team is committed to providing completely tailored treatment plans that are structured around your specific condition and health needs. We offer one-on-one consultations with Dr. Bautista, which ensures that we get to know you personally and build an actual relationship to provide you with the best alternative treatment for adrenal cancer. For more information or to receive a free consultation, please contact us today.