The American Association of Endocrine Surgeons, Patient Education Site

Adrenal incidentaloma

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What kind of tumor can this be?

Adrenal incidentalomas can be functioning (i.e. make too much hormoneHormone - a chemical made by a gland that travels in the bloodstream and "tells organs what to do.") or non-functioning and they can be benign or malignant. The majority are non-functioning, benign tumors.

  1. Functioning tumors – aldosterone-producing adenoma, cortisol-producing tumor (i.e. Cushing's syndromeCushing's syndrome - a disease where too much cortisol is being made), virilizing tumor (i.e. androgen-producing tumor), paragangliomaParaganglioma - a disease where too much adrenaline is being made by a tumor outside the adrenal glands and pheochromocytomaPheochromocytoma - a disease where too much adrenaline is being made by an adrenal tumor (i.e. adrenalineAdrenaline - the hormone that helps control the "fight or flight" response and puts the body on "high alert" (also known as epinephrine) producing tumor)
  2. Malignant tumors – adrenocortical cancer and metastatic disease
  3. Benign, non-functioning tumors – adenoma, myelolipoma, ganglioneuroma, adrenal cyst, and hematoma

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