Fletcher Allen, a Vermont university hospital and medical center, serves all of
Vermont and the northern New York region. Located in Burlington, Fletcher Allen is a regional, academic healthcare center and teaching hospital in alliance with the University of Vermont.
Adrenal Cancer Diagnosis
If you or a loved one experience unexplained symptoms such as stomach pain, weight gain, weakness or, in children, early puberty, make an appointment with your doctor. Most of the time, cancer is not the cause; however it is important to receive an expert diagnosis. If it is cancer, we can treat it more easily when we diagnose it early.
Diagnosing Adrenal Cancer
Your doctor will begin the diagnosis by asking you about your symptoms and your medical and family history. We will also perform a thorough physical examination.
Other diagnostic procedures include:
- Laboratory tests - We will examine your blood and urine, looking for high levels of the hormones produced by some adrenal tumors.
- Imaging tests - We use the most advanced imaging technology available. These
procedures provide us with a detailed picture of the tumor. We use these scans
to locate the exact position of the tumor and see if the cancer has spread.
Imaging tests include:
- Chest X-ray tells us if the cancer has spread to the lungs.
- Computed tomography (CT) scan can confirm where the cancer is located and whether it has spread. We may use a CT scan to help us decide whether to perform surgery.
- Positron emission tomography (PET) scan can help us determine the location of the tumor, whether it has spread and if it is cancerous or not.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan can help us determine if you have a tumor of the pituitary gland, which can cause symptoms similar to those caused by an adrenal tumor.
- Minimally invasive surgery - Your physician may perform laparoscopic surgery, which is surgery that uses tiny incisions and instruments. Laparoscopy allows us to see where the cancer is growing and helps us determine if we can remove the tumor using surgery. We can even remove small benign tumors through the laparoscope.
You may be wondering if we will perform a biopsy. Biopsy is often a popular option for diagnosing cancer. It involves removing a small amount of the tumor and examining it for signs of cancer. However, we do not usually recommend biopsy for diagnosing adrenal cancer. The procedure may actually cause the cancer cells to spread. Therefore, we use imaging and laboratory tests for diagnosis rather than biopsy.
Adrenal Cancer: Treatment
Once we obtain an accurate diagnosis, we will create your individualized treatment plan. Treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Your treatment plan may include one treatment or a combination of treatments. Learn more about adrenal cancer treatment.
Find a Fletcher Allen physician or call 877-540-HOPE (4673).