Effects of brain tumours and treatment on the adrenal glands

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Read about the potential impact of a brain tumour diagnosis or its treatment on the function of the adrenal glands and how this can affect your child.

Key points

  • The adrenal glands produce hormones that help the body respond to stress and illness. They are controlled, in part, by hormones from the pituitary gland, which is in the brain.
  • Some types of tumours may damage the pituitary gland, which can affect the ability to activate the adrenal glands, and thus reduce their ability to make stress hormones. Radiation therapy can also affect the pituitary gland.
  • If the adrenal glands are not working properly it is referred to as "adrenal insufficiency".
  • Adrenal insufficiency can be treated with daily doses of hydrocortisone.
  • For children with a diagnosis of adrenal insufficiency, it is important to give higher doses of medication during periods of physical stress, such as illness or surgery.
Last updated: January 10th 2022