The adrenal glands are located in the area inside the body known as the retroperitoneum, which is just above the kidneys. These small glands produce critical hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol.
About 5% of people have tumors in their adrenal glands. When these adrenal tumors are discovered on radiology scans performed for other reasons, they are called adrenal incidentalomas. Although the vast majority of such tumors are benign, the possibility of one of them being a cancerous lesion must always be eliminated through appropriate endocrinology and radiologic approaches.
Even if some adrenal lesions are not cancerous, they could be quite harmful. Approximately 10% of adrenal tumors secrete an excess of hormones that can lead to conditions like Cushing’s Syndrome, Conn’s Syndrome and Pheochromocytoma.
Most adrenal gland tumors are benign, but they must be evaluated thoroughly. At Fox Chase Cancer Center, each individual with an adrenal mass is evaluated with imaging tests (X-ray, CT scan, ultrasound, or MRI) as appropriate, as well as metabolic tests to assess hormone levels in the blood.