Pediatric Adrenal Carcinomas

Pediatric Adrenal Carcinomas

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Summary

Adrenal carcinomas (cancer of the adrenal glands) are rare in children, especially after the age of five.

Symptoms

The symptoms your child has may change depending on exactly what is happening. Generally there will be a lump, pain or a feeling of fullness in the abdomen. Your child may also complain about pain in his back. 

Symptoms often seen with increased cortisol or other hormone production include:

  • A fatty hump on the back just below the neck, also called a “buffalo hump”
  • A flushed, round face and big cheeks
  • Obesity
  • Short stature and stunted growth
  • The appearance of male characteristics in girls, such as increased body hair, pubic hair, acne, a deep voice and an enlarged clitoris.

If there is increased production of the steroid hormone aldosterone, you will often see symptoms of low potassium in the blood, such as muscle cramps and weakness.

Test and Diagnosis

The primary treatment for adrenocortical carcinoma is surgery to remove the tumor. Depending on the results, chemotherapy often follows.

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