Adrenal Gland Tumor: Symptoms and Signs

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 03/2016

ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about body changes and other things that can signal a problem that may need medical care. To see other pages, use the menu.

People with an adrenal gland tumor may experience the following symptoms or signs. Sometimes, people with an adrenal gland tumor do not have any of these changes. Or, the cause of a symptom may be another medical condition that is not a tumor.

  • High blood pressure

  • Low potassium level

  • Heart palpitations

  • Nervousness

  • Feelings of anxiety or panic attacks

  • Headache

  • Excessive perspiration

  • Diabetes

  • Abdominal pain

  • Unexplained weight gain or weight loss

  • Weakness

  • Abdominal stretch marks

  • Excessive hair growth

  • Changes in genitalia

  • Unusual acne

  • Change in libido (sex drive)

In addition, pheochromocytoma may cause dangerous surges of the hormones that regulate blood pressure and the body’s response to stress. A hormonal surge can cause blood pressure to rise very quickly, increasing the risk of a heart attack, stroke, hemorrhage, or sudden death.

If you are concerned about any changes you experience, please talk with your doctor. Your doctor will ask how long and how often you’ve been experiencing the symptom(s), in addition to other questions. This is to help find out the cause of the problem, called a diagnosis.

If a tumor is diagnosed, relieving symptoms remains an important part of medical care and treatment. This may also be called symptom management, palliative care, or supportive care. Be sure to talk with your health care team about symptoms you experience, including any new symptoms or a change in symptoms.

The next section in this guide is Diagnosis. It explains what tests may be needed to learn more about the cause of the symptoms. Or, use the menu to choose another section to continue reading this guide.