What is Pheochromocytoma?
Pheochromocytoma is a rare tumour that arises from the adrenal gland tissue and causes over secretion of adrenal hormones such as adrenaline, nor-adrenaline, and dopamine. They are also known as epinephrine and norepinephrine. These hormones play an important role in fight or flight situations. They increase cardiac output, heart rate, and blood pressure, increase blood flow to skeletal muscles, and alter the body’s metabolism. Most of these tumours are benign, but approximately 10% of pheochromocytomas are cancerous. Malignant or cancerous pheochromocytoma of the adrenal gland penetrates the deep tissues and vessels of the adrenal gland. Malignant pheochromocytoma of the adrenal gland can spread to the other parts of the body; the most frequent sites of the metastasis are lymph nodes, bone, liver, and lungs. The 5-year survival rate is 84.4%.
Disease Etiology (Causes)
There is no well-known cause. However certain genetic mutations (alterations) are thought to be responsible.
Signs and Symptoms
The patient may suffer from the following signs and symptoms. These are
- Excessive sweating
- Rapid heartbeat
- The pale colour of skin and conjunctiva
- Pain in the abdomen
- Weight loss
The following diagnostic tests and procedures are used to make a diagnosis. These are
- CBC (complete blood count)
- Blood sugar levels
- Measurement of plasma free metanephrines
- USG and CT-scan abdomen
The main treatment options are surgical tumour resection and laparoscopic adrenalectomy. Blood pressure can be controlled before surgery by prescribing alpha-blockers, beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, and ACE inhibitors. In advanced metastatic cases, chemotherapy and radiation therapy are the main treatment options.
What Support can we Give for Malignant Pheochromocytoma of the Adrenal gland?
Malignant Pheochromocytoma of the Adrenal gland is rare cancer, meaning it is not as well known as other forms of cancer. Without a Ribbon is an Australian organisation that provides support for individuals who suffer from rare cancers. So, we provide a designated platform for Warriors to obtain information specific to their Rare Cancer. We also provide annual opportunities for our Warriors to meet and learn from each other. If you suffer from rare cancer such as Malignant Pheochromocytoma of the Adrenal gland, we can help and support you through your journey thanks to the generous donations we receive. Click the link below to sign up and become a Warrior today!
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