Why choose us for pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma care?
Mays Cancer Center, home to UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson Cancer Center, delivers leading pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma (pheo para) care. We are a Pheo Para Alliance Center of Excellence, which recognizes our commitment to pheo para care and research. We are the first such center in the south-central U.S. and among a few worldwide. Participating in the Alliance brings additional resources, clinical trials and best practices to our South Texas community.
What you need to know about pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma
- Pheochromocytomas are tumors that develop in the adrenal gland. These glands sit on top of each of your kidneys.
- Paraganglioma forms in nerve (chromaffin) cells, which are all over the body. They often form in the head, neck and torso.
- These rare tumors occur in adults and children. They produce excess hormones that raise risks for other health concerns, like high blood pressure.
- Pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas are often noncancerous. But they can spread (metastasize) and become cancerous.
- These tumors are due to gene changes (mutations present at birth) that can run in families.
- People with von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) syndrome and multiple endocrine neoplasia face a higher risk of pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma. Find out more about how we treat these conditions and other rare and familial endocrine tumors.
How to talk to your doctor about pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma
These tumors are challenging to detect and don’t always respond to therapy. We deliver comprehensive services to diagnose, treat and manage pheo para.
You might want to ask your doctor about:
- Genetic testing, a key component of your care that helps you receive appropriate therapies for your needs
- Diagnosis, including the specific mutation that’s causing the tumor and what it means for your care
- Treatments, which may include surgery, medications or clinical trials
- Follow-up plan, which often involves yearly monitoring even if you are not experiencing symptoms
In addition to the support you receive from our team, your loved ones can also help you make care decisions. We welcome family members or trusted friends who wish to accompany you to appointments.