There are usually several healthcare providers involved in a person's pheochromocytoma treatment. The doctor may refer patients to doctors who specialize in treating pheochromocytoma, or patients may ask for a referral. Specialists who treat pheochromocytoma include:
- Medical oncologists
- Radiation oncologists.
Sometimes it is helpful to have a second opinion about the pheochromocytoma diagnosis and the treatment plan. Some insurance companies require a second opinion; others may cover a second opinion if the patient or doctor requests it.
The doctor is the best person to describe the treatment choices and discuss the expected results. The doctor and patient can work together to develop a treatment plan that fits the patient's needs.
There are various treatments for pheochromocytomas. In general, these options include:
- Surgery (taking out the cancer)
- Radiation therapy (using high-dose x-rays or other high-energy rays to kill cancer cells)
- Chemotherapy (using drugs to kill cancer cells).
Surgery is the most common treatment for pheochromocytoma. A doctor may remove one or both adrenal glands in an operation called adrenalectomy. The doctor will look inside the abdomen to make sure all the cancer is removed. If the cancer has spread, lymph nodes or other tissues may also be taken out.
Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy may be taken orally, or it may be put into the body by a needle in the vein or muscle. Chemotherapy is called a systemic treatment because the drug enters the bloodstream and can kill cancer cells throughout the body.