Adrenal Nodule or Mass Found on a Scan | UCLA Endocrine Center

Imaging has gotten better over the years — doctors find more adrenal nodules and masses than ever before. These masses, called adrenal incidentalomas, occur in about 7 percent of people by age 70. Most are noncancerous and don’t cause problems, but some lead to serious disease. Treatment is required if the masses are cancerous or make too many hormones.

To find out if the mass is cancerous, doctors usually order a special CT scan. This scan shows the size, density and borders of the tumor. Cancerous tumors are usually bigger than 6cm, are dense and have irregular borders. While rare, some cancerous adrenal tumors are smaller than 6cm, so it’s important to consider all of the tumor’s characteristics.

Surgery is often recommended to treat adrenal incidentaloma, says endocrine surgeon Avital Harari, MD. If you choose not to remove the mass, it’s important to have close follow-up with regular imaging and labs to see if the mass changes, which happens in about 20 percent of patients.

Learn more about treatment for adrenal incidentalomas: https://www.uclahealth.org/medical-services/surgery/endocrine-surgery
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