How well you feel after treatment, is linked to the cause of excess cortisol. Treatment mostly helps patients feel better and can often cure the problem. In very rare cases of adrenal cancer, less than 50 out of 100 people will be cured. However, the most important thing to know is that treatment for an adrenal adenoma (non-cancerous tumor) is very successful.
Overall, the quality of life for a person with CS depends on:
- How much extra cortisol is in your system
- How long the disease has lasted
- How healthy you are in general
- How easily the type of CS can be cured
If CS is cured, all of the symptoms of the disease will go away. This may take as long as 2 to 18 months after treatment. The slow improvement can be hard to take, but you will feel better. As you improve, you will need frequent calls and visits to your health care provider.
If the CS is not curable, or if you still have CS from steroids, you may have to cope with the signs mentioned earlier. (Things like: fatigue, muscle weakness, abdominal and facial weight gain, depression, mood swings.) Drugs can help with these ongoing symptoms. You will need regular visits to your health care provider for exams, blood tests, and treatment of side effects.
After Adrenal Tumor Surgery
Most people feel better quickly after laparoscopic surgery. You can often leave the hospital within 1 or 2 days with no restrictions. Often patients feel back-to-normal in about 3 to 5 weeks. Recovery from open surgery will take longer. You may stay in the hospital between 5 and 10 days. Full healing takes up to 8 weeks.
When one adrenal gland gives off too much cortisol, the other gland may shut-down. After surgery, you may need steroids to avoid a deficiency while the gland recovers. This may take up to a year. Rarely the adrenal gland that shut-down won't recover. In this case, steroids may be needed as replacement therapy.
It's important to know that adrenal surgery is complex. It helps to choose a surgeon who has significant experience with surgery in the area around the kidneys and adrenal glands. Talk with a few surgeons before you choose one to work with.