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What Are the Symptoms?

Pheochromocytomas cause the adrenal glands to make too many hormones called catecholamines (which include adrenaline). The extra catecholamines cause common pheochromocytoma symptoms. These symptoms can include:


(Click Pheochromocytoma Symptoms for more information.)


Diagnosing a Pheochromocytoma

If a person has possible pheochromocytoma symptoms, the doctor may do a physical exam and ask about the patient's personal and family medical history. In addition, when making a diagnosis, the doctor will also likely recommend additional tests and procedures, including:
  • Blood and urine tests to see if there are extra hormones in the body
  • CT scan
  • Nuclear medicine scans (metaiodobenzylguanidine scans, or MIBG scans for short)
  • MRIs.


(Click Diagnosing Pheochromocytoma for more information.) 



Once a doctor has made a diagnosis, he or she will order more tests to find out if cancer cells have spread to other parts of the body. This is called pheochromocytoma staging. It is important to know the stage in order to plan the best treatment.
Pheochromocytoma stages include:
  • Localized benign pheochromocytoma
  • Regional pheochromocytoma
  • Metastatic pheochromocytoma
  • Recurrent pheochromocytoma.


(Click Pheochromocytoma Stages for more information.) 


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