What increases my risk for pheochromocytoma?

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Pheochromocytoma can occur at any age and there are no known risk factors except for certain genetic syndromes. They are often called the "10% tumor" because it was commonly thought that 10% of pheochromocytomas are:

  • Malignant – 10% behave like cancer and can spread
  • Bilateral – 10% are found in both adrenal glands
  • Pediatric – 10% are found in children
  • Extra-Adrenal – 10% are found outside the adrenal glands
  • Familial – 10% are genetically caused.

However, as we learn more about this rare disease, we are discovering that some of these numbers may be higher. In fact, research shows that up to 25% of pheochromocytomas are inherited.

Age and heredity are risk factors for pheochromocytoma. While you can develop pheochromocytoma at any age, individuals between the ages of 30 and 60 are more likely to develop the tumor.

Pheochromocytoma is sometimes associated with family history. Some inherited traits that may cause pheochromocytoma include multiple endocrine neoplasia, neurofibromatosis, and von Hippel-Lindau disease.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.