Adrenal gland tumor survivor celebrates life

In 2005, violinist Treesa Gold became concerned when she began experiencing weight gain, hair loss and acne. She saw a doctor, who told her, “You’re 24 and healthy. Stop being paranoid.” Unsatisfied with this response, she saw an endocrinologist a few months later. After reviewing her bloodwork, he ordered a CT scan, which revealed a 13-centimeter adrenal gland tumor. Treesa was diagnosed with adrenocortical carcinoma. A surgeon removed the tumor, along with her left kidney. But Treesa knew she needed to see someone with extensive experience in treating adrenal gland tumors for the next phase of her treatment. “My doctor said, ‘I will only see one case of this in your lifetime, and you want to go somewhere where they see many of these cases,’” she recalls. Adrenal gland tumor treatment In less than a month, Treesa traveled from New Orleans to Houston for her first appointment at MD Anderson. “My doctor was the first person who talked bluntly to me about my diagnosis,” Treesa says, recalling that her doctor told her that adrenocortical carcinoma has a very high recurrence rate. “But I needed to hear that to prepare for treatment.” Because adrenal gland tumors don’t typically respond to traditional chemotherapy, our doctors started Treesa on a half-gram of a type of oral chemotherapy called Mitotane, which treats adrenal gland tumors by suppressing adrenal gland hormone production. She was gradually given higher doses. “My medical team was so incredibly kind and thorough,” she says. “I don’t think I’ve ever been cared for like I was at MD Anderson, from when I parked my car to when I left for...