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Adrenal tumor


Cushing syndrome due to adrenal tumor is an endocrine system disorder. It occurs when a tumor of the adrenal gland releases excess amounts of the hormone cortisol. Adrenal tumors may be noncancerous (benign) or cancerous (malignant).


Symptoms

  • Upper body obesity (above the waist) and thin arms and legs
  • Round, red, full face (moon face)
  • Slow growth rate in children

Skin changes that are often seen include:

  • Acne or skin infections
  • Purple marks (1/2 inch or more wide) on the skin of the abdomen, thighs, and breasts
  • Thin skin with easy bruising

Muscle and bone changes include:

  • Backache, which occurs with routine activities
  • Bone pain or tenderness
  • Collection of fat between the shoulders (buffalo hump)
  • Rib and spine fractures (caused by thinning of the bones)
  • Weak muscles

Women often have:

  • Excess hair growth on the face, neck, chest, abdomen, and thighs
  • Menstrual cycle that becomes irregular or stops

Men may have:

  • Decreased or no desire for sex
  • Impotence

Other symptoms that may occur include:

  • Mental changes, such as depression, anxiety, or changes in behavior
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Increased thirst and urination

Treatment

Cushing syndrome due to an adrenal tumor is treated with surgery to remove the tumor and often the entire adrenal gland. Glucocorticoid replacement treatment is usually needed until the other adrenal gland recovers from surgery. You may need this treatment for 9 - 12 months. If surgery is not possible (such as in cases of adrenal cancer), medicines can be used to stop the release of cortisol.


Prognosis

Patients with an adrenal tumor who have surgery have an excellent outlook. Surgery success rates are very high with this type of tumor. For adrenal cancer, surgery is sometimes not possible. When surgery is performed, it does not always cure the cancer.


To learn more about Adrenal tumors (Cushing syndrome) click here