Adrenal Cortical Carcinoma, also known as ACC, is an extremely rare disease. It is caused after cancer grows inside the adrenal cortex, which is found in the outer layer of the adrenal glands. These glands lie right on top of your kidneys and play an important role in the endocrine system which regulates hormones.
The adrenal cortex helps the human body make hormones which aid in metabolism and blood pressure. It also helps in making cortisol and androgens. If you have encountered ACC, then these hormones are excessively produced in your body.
It was recently revealed that women, children under the age of 5, people with cancer, and people between the ages of 40 and 50 are the ones who are mostly diagnosed with this problem.
Types of ACCs
In total there are two types of ACCs
It increases the production of androgens and other adrenal hormones.
This does not increase the hormone production in the adrenal glands.
What are the Causes of ACCs?
The primary cause of ACC is still unknown. However, several researchers claim that this problem can be attributed to a secondary cancer. This happens when some other form of cancer enters the adrenal glands.
What are the Symptoms of ACCs?
The symptoms of ACC depend upon what type of hormones it has started producing excessively in your body.
In case of Testosterone and any other androgens, your body will start growing a lot of hair; this is quite common in female patients. Moreover, the voice also deepens.
In case the hormone being produced is Estrogen, then children tend to get signs of puberty before their age. Moreover, the breast tissues in males are also enlarged.
If Aldosterone is being produced then the patient tends to gain weight and high blood pressure.
Excess of Cortisol will increase the amount of blood sugar and also increase blood pressure in the patients. Moreover, there is muscle weakness specifically in the legs. Most patients also had bruises on their bodies and gained a lot of weight.
How can ACC be diagnosed?
In order to diagnose this disease, the doctors are expected to perform physical exams. Lab tests are also required in order to check certain hormone levels. For this purpose the doctor could ask for your saliva, blood and urine.
How to Treat ACC?
There are certain stages of the tumour which might exist in your body if you are experiencing this problem.
The first stage has small tumours, and it grows up to the last stage, which is the fourth stage. In the fourth stage, tumours can be of any size and grow on other organs of your body.
A variety of treatments are available, depending upon the stage at which your disease has spread out to.
Chemotherapy, surgery, radiation and biologic therapy are all possible options if you want to fully treat this problem.