Equip yourself. Learn about pheochromocytoma.


A pheochromocytoma is a tumor typically of the adrenal gland, originating within the chromaffin cells, which produces excessive adrenaline. Aside from the adrenal glands, it may also be located in other chromaffin tissue. Although such tumors may grow to a considerable size, most are less than 10 cm.

Signs and Symptoms

Pheochromocytoma symptoms vary depending upon the case and individual, but some possibilities may include the following:

Anxiety, nervousness, or panic attacks
Arterial hypertension
Excessive sweating (diaphoresis)
Heart palpitations
Heat intolerance
Hyperglycemia (Elevated blood sugar levels)
Hypertension (high blood pressure)
Localized amyloid deposits (upon microscopic examination)
Lower chest pain
Pallor (pale color)
Tachycardia (elevated heart rate)
Upper abdomen pain
Weight loss

Continue reading additional information on pheochromocytoma symptoms.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Pheochromocytoma diagnosis is made by a doctor or medical professional. Common methods of receiving a diagnosis involve measuring the catecholamines in the blood plasma, or metanephrines and catecholamines in the urine. If a pheochromocytoma is diagnosed, CT scan imaging may be useful in localizing the tumor.

Certain other conditions can be ruled out in the diagnosis process: anxiety disorders, essential hypertension, hyperthyroidism, insulinoma, paragangliomas, paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia, and renovascular hypertension.

Pheochromocytoma treatment methods involve surgery: either surgical resection (laparotomy or laparoscopy), or adrenalectomy (total removal of any adrenal glands affected by the tumor).

Pheochromocytoma prognosis depends upon a number of factors, such as whether the tumor is malignant, and if so, how far it has spread. Prognosis of such malignant cases in children is not as well known as in adults.

Continue to read more regarding diagnosis and treatment.

Pheochromocyoma facts

It is sometimes known as the "ten percent tumor" due to the fact that a variety of its statistics are approximately 10%. As an example, roughly 10% of cases involve malignant pheochromocytoma tumors.