The American Association of Endocrine Surgeons, Patient Education Site

Sex hormone-producing
adrenal tumor

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Treatment

Complete surgical removal of the tumor is the only treatment that can potentially cure patients with sex hormoneHormone - a chemical made by a gland that travels in the bloodstream and "tells organs what to do." producing tumors. Complete resection of either benign or malignant tumors is the best predictor of cure. Due to the risk of malignancy, these tumors are often removed through an open adrenalectomyAdrenalectomy - an operation to remove the adrenal gland. (See How is adrenal surgery performed?) In addition, sex-hormone producing adrenocortical cancers have a risk of spreading to lymph nodes in the area of the adrenal. A lymph node dissection should be considered for patients with findings suspicious for malignancy, particularly if enlarged lymph nodes are noted on CAT scan or MRI. With large or invasive cancers, complete surgical removal may not be possible, and the patient may need chemotherapy or other medications to control the disease. Drugs such as mitotane or ketoconazole may be used to either treat patients after an operation or instead of an operation.16, 17 The prognosis is improved in younger patients and in those with a complete resection of their tumor. 16, 17 Virilizing or feminizing symptoms typically improve after removal of the tumor.

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