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. There are two adrenal glands in the human body, which are situated at the top of each kidney.
These are rare tumours and in 0.02-0.5% of cases are the causes of high blood pressure. The incidence is higher among people aged 30-50 years. It usually develops in one adrenal gland, but it can affect both adrenal glands. 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 can be used to make a diagnosis. These are
- CBC (complete blood count)
- Blood sugar levels
- Measurement of plasma free metanephrines
- 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.
What Support can we Give for Pheochromocytoma?
Pheochromocytoma 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 Pheochromocytoma, 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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Without a Ribbon is a charity that works hard to aid those who suffer from rare cancers. You can help our cause in a variety of ways: