Adrenocortical Carcinoma Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI] - General Information About Adrenocortical Carcinoma
Adrenocortical carcinoma is a rare disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the outer layer of the adrenal gland.
There are two adrenal glands. The adrenal glands are small and shaped like a triangle. One adrenal gland sits on top of each kidney. Each adrenal gland has two parts. The outer layer of the adrenal gland is the adrenal cortex. The center of the adrenal gland is the adrenal medulla.
Note: Separate PDQ summaries on Endometrial Cancer Screening; Endometrial Cancer Treatment; and Uterine Sarcoma Treatment are also available.
Intervention Associated With Decreased Risk
Based on solid evidence, at least 1 year's use of oral contraceptives containing estrogen and progesterone decreases endometrial cancer risk, proportionate to duration of use. This benefit lasts at least 15 years after cessation.[1,2]
Magnitude of Effect: Use of oral contraceptives...
Help manage the body's use of protein, fat, and carbohydrates.
Cause the body to have masculine or feminine characteristics.
The adrenal medulla makes hormones that help the body react to stress.
Adrenocortical carcinoma is also called cancer of the adrenal cortex. A tumor of the adrenal cortex may be functioning (makes more hormones than normal) or nonfunctioning (does not make hormones). The hormones made by functioning tumors may cause certain signs or symptoms of disease.
Cancer that forms in the adrenal medulla is called pheochromocytoma.
Having certain genetic conditions increases the risk of developing adrenocortical carcinoma.
Anything that increases your risk of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Having a risk factor does not mean that you will get cancer; not having risk factors doesn't mean that you will not get cancer. People who think they may be at risk should discuss this with their doctor. Risk factors for adrenocortical carcinoma include having the following hereditary diseases:
Possible signs of adrenocortical carcinoma include pain in the abdomen and certain physical changes.
These and other symptoms may be caused by adrenocortical carcinoma:
A lump in the abdomen.
Pain the abdomen or back.
A nonfunctioning adrenocortical tumor may not cause symptoms in the early stages.
A functioning adrenocortical tumor makes too much of a certain hormone (cortisol, aldosterone, testosterone, or estrogen).
Too much cortisol may cause:
Weight gain in the face, neck, and trunk of the body and thin arms and legs.
Growth of fine hair on the face, upper back, or arms.
A round, red, full face.
A lump of fat on the back of the neck.
A deepening of the voice and swelling of the sex organs or breasts in both males and females.