The symptoms of an adrenal tumor sometimes include heart palpitations, nervousness, excessive perspiration, headaches and abdominal pain, explains Cancer.Net. These are often accompanied by high blood pressure, unexplained weight loss or weight gain, excess facial hair, and diabetes. Some adrenal tumors produce no symptoms at all.
The symptoms of an adrenal tumor depend largely on whether or not it produces hormones. Symptoms most often occur with "functioning" tumors, or those that produce the same hormones normally secreted by the adrenal glands. "Nonfunctioning" tumors do not produce hormones and are often asymptomatic, reports Cancer.Net.
The adrenal glands secrete hormones that regulate essential body functions, such as fluid and mineral balance, the metabolism of fats and proteins, immune function, and the body's response to stress, MD Anderson Cancer Center explains. When a tumor produces excess amounts of one or more of these hormones, symptoms usually result. For example, if an adrenal tumor produces catecholamines, or stress hormones, nervousness, palpitations and excess sweating may occur. If a tumor produces excess aldosterone, which regulates acid-base balance, potassium levels and blood pressure, symptoms like weakness, fatigue and high blood pressure may result. Other symptoms related to the overproduction of sex hormones and altered metabolism sometimes occur as well.
The most common type of adrenal mass is an adenoma, a benign tumor that is usually nonfunctioning, Cancer.Net reports. Adrenal cancer, or adrenocortical carcinoma, is rare.