The concept of pheochromocytoma screening involves testing people for the tumor when they have none of its symptoms. A routine, effective pheochromocytoma screening test has not yet been developed. If a doctor suspects a person of having a pheochromocytoma, there are diagnostic tests that he or she may order; however, these tests are not suitable for screening people who exhibit no symptoms associated with a pheochromocytoma.
"Pheochromocytoma screening" refers to testing people for the tumor when they have no pheochromocytoma symptoms. A routine, effective pheochromocytoma screening test has not yet been developed.
While there is not yet a routine test used to screen for pheochromocytoma, it may be helpful to understand cancer screening in general. Scientists have studied patterns of cancer in the population to learn which people are more likely to get certain types of cancer. They have also studied what things around us and what things we do in our lives may cause cancer. This information sometimes helps doctors recommend:
- Who should be screened for certain types of cancer
- What types of screening tests people should have
- How often these tests should be done.
If your doctor suggests certain cancer screening tests as part of your healthcare plan, this does not mean he or she thinks you have cancer. Screening tests are done when a person has no symptoms. Since decisions about screening can be difficult, you may want to discuss them with the doctor and ask questions about the potential benefits and risks of screening tests and whether they have been proven to decrease the risk of dying from cancer.
If your doctor suspects that you may have cancer, he or she will order certain tests. These are called diagnostic tests. Some tests are used for diagnostic purposes, but are not suitable for screening people who have no symptoms.