Pheochromocytoma is a tumor. It is made up of special adrenal gland cells. These cells secrete hormones such as epinephrine and norepinephrine. These hormones help to regulate the heart rate and blood pressure. The cells may secrete excessive amounts of the hormones. This results in periods of:
Most of these tumors are benign (noncancerous). About 10% are malignant (cancerous). Most of the tumors grow on the adrenal glands. The glands are on top of the kidneys. About 10%-20% the tumors occur elsewhere in the body.
Up to 50% of patients have no symptoms. This tumor is found during the investigation of some other unrelated illness.
Symptoms may occur many times during the day. They can also occur as infrequently as once every few months. Symptoms may be brought on by pressure on the tumor (during a massage), medications (such as certain anesthetics and beta-blockers), or intense emotion. Symptoms can include:
Your doctor will take a medical history. A physical exam will be done. Diagnosis of pheochromocytoma may include the following tests:
24-hour urine testing—to measure amounts of catecholamines (a group of hormones made by the adrenal glands near the kidneys), including epinephrine and norepinephrine and their byproducts (metanephrines)
Blood testing—to measure catecholamines and metanephrines
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a