What kind of tumor is an adrenal incidentaloma?

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Ajay K. Sahajpal, MD
Transplant Surgery
An adrenal incidentaloma is really an incidentally found tumor in the adrenal gland. It could be benign or malignant. Generally with good CT and MRI scanning we can evaluate them and based on size determine which ones should be removed for risk of cancer versus which ones are benign and can be observed.
Adrenal incidentalomas can be functioning (make too much hormone) or non-functioning, and they can be benign or malignant. The majority are non-functioning, benign tumors. Functioning tumors include aldosterone-producing adenoma, cortisol-producing tumor (Cushing's syndrome), virilizing tumor (androgen-producing tumor), paraganglioma, and pheochromocytoma (adrenaline producing tumor). Malignant tumors include adrenocortical cancer and metastatic disease. Benign, non-functioning tumors include adenoma, myelolipoma, ganglioneuroma, adrenal cyst, and hematoma. 

Continue Learning about Endocrine System

Endocrine System

Your endocrine system works with your nervous system to control important bodily functions. The endocrine systems responsibilities include regulating growth, sexual development and function, metabolism and mood. The endocrine syst...

em also helps give your body the energy it needs to function properly. Endocrine glands secrete hormones into the bloodstream. Hormones are considered chemical messengers, coordinating your body by transferring information from one set of cells to another. Your endocrine system health can be affected by hormone imbalances resulting from impaired glands. A hormone imbalance can cause problems with bodily growth, sexual development, metabolism and other bodily functions. Endocrine system diseases or conditions include diabetes, growth disorders and osteoporosis.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.