It is hard to find adrenal carcinomas early and they are often quite large when diagnosed. Adrenal carcinomas are often found earlier in children than in adults because adrenal cancers in children more commonly secrete hormones. Children will show outward signs of excess hormone production early. For example they may develop very early signs of puberty due to the sex hormones that sometimes are produced by adrenal cancer. In adults, these tumors may be found early by accident, when a CT (computed tomography) scan is done for some other health concern.
The American Cancer Society has official recommendations for the early detection of several types of cancer. Because adrenal cancers occur so rarely, the Society does not recommend routine testing for this cancer in people without any symptoms.
Last Revised: 02/25/2015