Pheochromocytoma – Symptoms & Treatment

Pheochromocytoma – Symptoms & Treatment

Chromaffin cells are the source of the neuroendocrine tumor referred to as pheochromocytoma. Adrenal glands contain the cells that make the hormones that the body requires. In the upper part of the abdomen, above the kidneys, lies a group of tiny structures called the adrenal glands. The adrenal medulla, the inner layer of the adrenal gland, is the site of growth for 80–85% of pheochromocytomas.

Extra-adrenal or paraganglioma pheochromocytomas, which make up around 15-20% of pheochromocytomas, develop outside of this region. Most pheochromocytomas are benign, meaning they are not malignant and do not spread to other areas of the body. Also, pheochromocytomas seldom spread outside of the affected area of the body—only around 10% do.

Pheochromocytoma: How Frequent Is It?

Due to the high rate of missed diagnoses, it is unknown how common pheochromocytoma is. Pheochromocytoma most frequently affects adults between the ages of 30 and 50. According to one estimate, just 8 persons out of every million people have pheochromocytoma, however, this number might be underestimated.


Pheochromocytoma symptoms and signs frequently include:

Less frequent indications or symptoms might be:

  • Worrying or feeling doomed
  • Hazy vision
  • Constipation
  • Also, loss of weight

How is Pheochromocytoma Detected?

Pheochromocytoma symptoms might vary from person to person. The frequency of symptoms might range from several times per day to a few times per month. Also, paroxysmal attacks, or severe symptoms that endure just a few times, may occur in certain persons. Some of these signs include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Headaches
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Sweating

Laboratory Tests

Your doctor will request lab testing of your urine and blood to examine your hormone levels if you exhibit signs of pheochromocytoma.


To determine the location and size of the tumor, your doctor will employ imaging tests like CT, MRI, and PET. Additionally, they will look for indications that the tumor has spread to other bodily regions.

Treatment For Pheochromocytoma

Pheochromocytoma treatment may involve a variety of medical professionals, including specialists in cancer diagnosis and treatment as well as hormone issues. Thus, the following are possibilities for treatment to go through with your doctor:


  • Your doctor could prescribe medicines to reduce high blood pressure. Also, to help you manage your symptoms.


  • To get rid of the tumor as much as feasible, surgery takes place. Then the entire adrenal gland may need to be removed in rare situations.

Radiation Therapy and Chemotherapy

  • When pheochromocytoma has spread to other bodily regions, radiation, and chemotherapy therapies are carried out.

When to Consult a Doctor

Despite the fact that a pheochromocytoma’s major symptom is high blood pressure, most persons with this condition do not also have an adrenal tumor. Thus, if any of the following occur to you, speak with your healthcare provider:

  • High blood pressure difficult to manage with existing therapies
  • Episodes of deteriorating hypertension
  • Also, an inheritance of pheochromocytoma
  • A background of a comparable genetic illness in the family


An uncommon tumor is a pheochromocytoma. The positive side of this condition is that it is frequently curable and benign. Although the root cause of pheochromocytoma is unclear in the majority of instances, there is a strong correlation with several genetic diseases. Therefore, it’s crucial to undergo genetic testing if you or an immediate family member has been diagnosed with pheochromocytoma.

It is essential to ensure that you do not have a hereditary disorder that might potentially result in additional health problems. Thus, speak to your healthcare practitioner if you have any concerns about your chance of getting a pheochromocytoma.