What is paraganglioma?
A paraganglioma is a rare type of tumor. It affects the nerve cells and is typically benign, although it has the ability to become malignant and spread throughout the body.
Those between the ages of 30 and 50 are most commonly affected.
What are the symptoms of paraganglioma?
The most common symptoms are related to the fight or flight instinct, as the tumors often release adrenaline. They include:
- A rapid heartbeat
- High blood pressure
- Flushed skin
What causes paraganglioma?
About ¼ of these tumors are familial, while the rest are sporadic. They may be a result of another condition, including neurofibromatosis, familial paraganglioma syndrome, or Von Hippel-Lindau syndrome.
How is paraganglioma diagnosed?
Multiple tests may be required to properly diagnose this condition, including blood tests, a 24-hour urine test, imaging tests, and genetic testing.
What are the treatments for paraganglioma?
Surgery is the first option that doctors will look at in terms of treatment. It may or may not be possible depending on multiple factors, such as the size and location of the tumor and if it has spread.
Other forms of treatment include medications to manage symptoms, radiation, thermal ablation therapy, and clinical trials. If a tumor is slow growing and benign, doctors may even just monitor it.