What are the treatment options for pheochromocytoma?

The best treatment for pheochromocytoma is to remove it surgically. One of the few exceptions to this rule are patients who have other medical problems that are so dangerous that they would not survive an operation. In general, medical therapy is only effective temporarily and patients can "breakthrough" the medications.
Not treating pheochromocytoma is incredibly dangerous and life-threatening. The best treatment for pheochromocytoma is to surgically remove the adrenal gland(s) with the tumor. This is true for almost all patients except for those with such severe other medical issues that they would not survive an operation. Medical therapy to block the effects of adrenaline excess is available but is not nearly as effective as adrenalectomy. Patients can breakthrough the medication and have life-threatening problems. 

While surgery is the chief treatment option for pheochromocytoma, doctors often have to take several preliminary steps before surgical removal. First, the doctor may prescribe a medicine like pheoxybenzamine to stop your adrenal glands' rapid hormone emission. Then a doctor will prescribe a beta blocker to monitor blood pressure and other symptoms. Once you are medicated, the doctor can perform surgery to remove the tumor.

In the event that the tumor is cancerous and has spread to other parts of the body, surgery is not possible. In this case, doctors recommend chemotherapy and radiation to stop the growth.

Continue Learning about Endocrine System

Endocrine System

Your endocrine system works with your nervous system to control important bodily functions. The endocrine systems responsibilities include regulating growth, sexual development and function, metabolism and mood. The endocrine syst...

em also helps give your body the energy it needs to function properly. Endocrine glands secrete hormones into the bloodstream. Hormones are considered chemical messengers, coordinating your body by transferring information from one set of cells to another. Your endocrine system health can be affected by hormone imbalances resulting from impaired glands. A hormone imbalance can cause problems with bodily growth, sexual development, metabolism and other bodily functions. Endocrine system diseases or conditions include diabetes, growth disorders and osteoporosis.

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.