Children's Hospital Colorado
Surgical Oncology

Pheochromocytoma

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What is pheochromocytoma?

Pheochromocytoma is a type of tumor that develops in the adrenal gland and causes the gland to secrete too much adrenaline. The adrenal glands are located at the top of each kidney.

Usually, a pheochromocytoma tumor develops in only one adrenal gland, but it is possible for tumors to develop in both. Pheochromocytoma tumors are usually benign (noncancerous)

What causes pheochromocytoma?

While doctors don’t know exactly what causes pheochromocytoma, certain factors can increase the risk of getting a pheochromocytoma tumor. These risks include a family history of the disease, tumors in other glands in the body, hormonal disorders and genetic diseases such as Von Hippel-Lindau disease.

Who gets pheochromocytoma?

Pheochromocytoma is a rare condition, with about 10% of those affected being children. For children, symptoms usually begin to appear between the ages of 6 and 14. Pheochromocytoma generally affects children of all genders and different ethnicities equally.

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