A rare type of tumor that usually is not cancer and forms in an adrenal gland.


Pheochromocytomas form in cells located in the center of the adrenal glands. These tumors make hormones that can trigger various symptoms. Without treatment, severe damage to other body systems can happen. Most of these tumors are found in people between the ages of 20 and 50.


Pheochromocytoma symptoms can include high blood pressure, headache, heavy sweating, rapid heartbeat, tremors, skin that turns a lighter color, shortness of breath and panic attack-type symptoms. Most often, symptoms come and go.


The main treatment for a pheochromocytoma is surgery to remove the tumor. Before surgery, blood pressure medicines usually are prescribed. These medicines lower the risk of dangerously high blood pressure during surgery.