Adrenal gland

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Supportive care for adrenal gland cancer

Supportive careSupportive careTreatment given to improve the quality of life of people who have a serious illness (such as cancer). helps people meet the physical, practical, emotional and spiritual challenges of adrenal gland cancer. It is an important part of cancer care. There are many programs and services available to help meet the needs and improve the quality of life of people living with cancer and their loved ones, especially after treatment has ended.


Recovering from adrenal gland cancer and adjusting to life after treatment is different for each person, depending on the extent of the disease, the type of treatment and many other factors. The end of cancer treatment may bring mixed emotions. Even though treatment has ended, there may be other issues to deal with, such as coping with long-term side effects caused by overproduction of hormones.

Identifying and treating side effects related to hormone overproduction is important in the effective treatment of adrenal gland cancer. Supportive therapy drugs are used to control the symptoms of excessive hormone production. It is important to regularly monitor hormone levels in the blood or urine to see if the dose of supportive therapy drugs needs to be adjusted.

Cushing’s syndrome

Cushing’s syndrome (CS) is the most common cause of symptoms in adults with a functioning adrenocortical tumour. CS can be caused by an adrenal gland tumour that overproduces cortisol. Signs and symptoms of CS include:

  • full, rounded face (“moon face”)
  • weight gain – especially in the chest and abdomen, with thin arms and legs
  • excessive hair growth on the face, arms, chest and back in women
  • acne that develops after puberty
  • muscle weakness
  • unexplained low potassium in the blood
  • high blood sugar that develops in people who do not have risk factors for diabetes
  • high blood pressure
  • menstrual irregularities
  • easy bruising
  • deepening of the voice in women
  • mood changes
  • thinning of the bones (osteoporosis) which can lead to fractures

See a list of questions to ask your doctor about supportive care after treatment.


Rosemary Pedlar After seeing a Canadian Cancer Society call for volunteers in a newspaper, Rosemary knew that this was her opportunity to get started.

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