Specializations

PHEOCHROMOCYTOMA

Types of Pheochromocytoma

Pheochromocytoma is a rare tumor. The symptoms of pheochromocytoma can vary with each individual case, but the most common symptoms are severe hypertension, either sustained or episodic, pallor, headache, nausea, weight problems, sweating, palpitations, anxiety and sleeplessness. These are the most common symptoms reported. Since many other illnesses can also exhibit all or some of these symptoms, a proper diagnosis is needed. It is important to seek proper medical attention should you have any of these symptoms, especially when they happen suddenly.

Once a diagnosis of pheochromocytoma has been established and the tumor located, surgical removal of the tumor is standard treatment if possible. It is necessary to ask your surgeon how experienced he/she is with pheochromocytoma. Ask how many patients they have previously operated on for pheochromocytoma. An experienced surgeon will do no less than 3 of these types of surgeries per year.

In most cases, approximately 90%, once a pheochromocytoma is diagnosed and removed, the individual is cured, and will probably never have another “pheo” again. However, these individuals need to have followup examinations for the rest of their life.

Many cases of recurring pheos are often related to genetic disorders such as VHL and MEN syndromes.

GENETIC CONDITIONS

Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Syndromes and Von Hippel Lindau are genetic conditions. They are known as MEN and VHL, respectively. There are other genetic forms of the illness. The descriptions are given in the links below. As persons with these genetic conditions are at an increased risk for medical problems such as endocrine imbalances, kidney problems, infections and vision and motor impairments, it’s very important for these people to receive regular medical attention.

  • MEN1
  • MEN2A
  • MEN2B
  • VHL
  • SDHB
  • SDHC
  • SDHD

Information Used This Page

References

National Organization for Rare Disorders NORD:
Pheochromocytoma

Society of Surgical Oncology; Doherty GM, Olson JA, Frisella MM, Lairmore TC, Wells SA, Jr, Norton JA. Lethality of multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1. World J Surg 1998; 22:581-6.

Society of Surgical Oncology; Mulligan LM, Eng C, Healey CS, Clayton D, Kwok JB, Gardner E, Ponder MA, Frilling A, Jackson CE, Lehnert H et al. Specific mutations of the RET proto-oncogene are related to disease phenotype in MEN 2A and FMTC. Nature Genetics 1994;6:70-74.

National Organization for Rare Disorders NORD:
Von Hippel Lindau Disease

Pheochromocytoma Support Group:
Under Forum Heading: Related Genetic Conditions