When a person has been diagnosed with a pheochromocytoma, staging tests are conducted to determine whether cancer cells have spread to other parts of the body. It is important to know which of the pheochromocytoma stages best describes the tumor and its progression in order to plan treatment. The pheochromocytoma stages include localized benign, regional, metastatic, and recurrent pheochromocytoma.
After diagnosing pheochromocytoma, the doctor will likely order additional tests to find out if cancer cells have spread to other parts of the body. This is called pheochromocytoma staging. Stages of pheochromocytoma are used to describe the extent of the cancer. It is important to know the stage of the cancer in order to plan pheochromocytoma treatment.
The following tests and procedures may be used in the pheochromocytoma staging process:
- Blood or urine tests
- CT scan
- Bone scan.
Blood and Urine Tests
Urine tests may reveal if extra catecholamines (including adrenaline) or its breakdown products are in the urine. Blood tests can detect extra hormones in the blood.
An ultrasound is a procedure in which high-energy sound waves (ultrasound) are bounced off internal tissues or organs and make echoes. The echoes form a picture of body tissues called a sonogram.
CT (Computed Tomography) Scan
A CT scan is a procedure that makes a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body taken from different angles. The pictures are made by a computer linked to an x-ray machine. A dye may be injected into a vein or swallowed to help the organs or tissues show up more clearly. This procedure is also called computed tomography, computerized tomography, or computerized axial tomography (CAT).