Adrenal cancer

If you are diagnosed with adrenal cancer, you will have immediate access to our world-leading consultants and state-of-the-art hospitals

About adrenal cancer

The adrenal glands are two glands (organs) located above each kidney. Adrenal cancer is rare and most tumours are benign (non-cancerous).

There are two main types of adrenal gland cancer — phaeochromocytoma (tumours that start inside the adrenal gland and are not always cancerous) and adrenocortical carcinoma (tumours that occur in the outer layer).

Need to know

  • Symptoms of adrenal cancer icon plus

    The adrenal glands make the hormones adrenaline and cortisol, which are responsible for regulating heart rate, blood pressure and responding to stress. The symptoms of adrenal cancer are caused by the excess production of hormones. Some of the more common symptoms include:

    • headaches
    • heavy sweating
    • rapid heart rate
    • high blood pressure (hypertension)
    • weight loss or gain
    • nausea and sickness
    • pale (or grey) face
    • tiredness
    • mood changes
    • anxiety
    • tremor (shakiness)

    Some people may not have any symptoms while others may have a combination of symptoms at different times.

  • Diagnosis icon plus

    Diagnosing adrenal cancer can be difficult because it can cause symptoms that are similar to other conditions. Your GP or consultant will discuss your symptoms with you. Tests they recommend may include:

    • blood and urine tests
    • MRI or CT scan
    • MIBG scan and treatment
    • DOTATATE PET scan and treatment
    • a biopsy
    • an angiogram
  • Potential treatment options icon plus

    Treatment options for adrenal cancer depend on the size of the tumour, whether it has spread and your overall health and fitness. Below are some of the treatment options we offer.

    • Surgery to remove the adrenal gland if the tumour is found at an early stage (adrenalectomy). The surrounding tissue and kidney may also be removed if there is a risk of the cancer spreading.
    • Surgery to remove adrenal tumours if the cancer has spread.
    • Hormone replacement tablets to be taken daily for a patient's lifetime if both adrenal glands need to be removed.
    • Chemotherapy to control or prevent the growth of cancer.
    • Radiotherapy to destroy cancer cells.

Our consultants

We're proud to work with leading experts across a range of medical fields, whose skills are matched by their integrity and compassion.

Our facilities

From complex surgery to straightforward procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

Contact our experienced cancer team

Any questions about our cancer services or treatment? We're happy to advise you or help you book an appointment in London, Birmingham or Manchester with a cancer specialist consultant.

Call us on 

020 7079 4344
This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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