Paraganglioma is a rare condition where tumors grow in the peripheral nervous system. Basically, these tumors are found near nerve clusters in the adrenal gland and even near certain blood vessels. There is no way to ascertain, whether these tumors are malignant or benign, which is why doctors should monitor such growths at regular intervals to check for cancer. Sometimes, the tumors may be caused outside the adrenal gland. These growths are often known as extra-adrenal paragangliomas. If you or anyone else you know suffers from paragangliomas, here are 3 ways by which this condition can be treated -
- Surgery: Almost all patients suffering from paragangliomas are recommended to undergo surgery. This is the best course of treatment and ensures that the tumor is removed from the source. However, owing to certain medical conditions, some people may not be able to undergo surgery. For these patients, other forms of treatment have to be used. However, if you are cleared for surgery, you will need to prepare for the same extensively. For instance, alpha-blockers will be used at least 10 to 14 days prior to the operation. These medications will ensure that the effects of adrenaline can be limited during the administration of anesthesia during the surgery. Doctors will also check whether the alpha blockers are working. Just 3-4 days prior to the operation, the patient may also be prescribed beta blockers, in a bid to slow down the heart. The surgery is caused with the help of general anesthesia and the patient is put to sleep. In most cases, an open surgery is conducted to remove the paraganglioma tumor. However, minimally invasive laparoscopic surgeries may also be successful in some cases. Generally, laparoscopic surgeries have a shorter recovery period and lesser pain post operation.
- Medical therapy: If the patient suffering from the paraganglioma cannot be operated upon, he/she needs to undergo treatment with medicines. While these are effective in reducing the level of adrenaline in the body, medication alone is rarely as effective as surgery.
- Radiation therapy: If the tumor from paraganglioma turns malignant or cancerous, standard treatment comprising medicines and surgery may not be feasible. In such cases, radiation therapy may be the best course to follow. Chemotherapy may also be prescribed for dealing with these cancer cells.
At any rate, it is essential to start treatment for paragangliomas immediately after it is diagnosed. Leaving the condition unattended can lead to severe complications that may be difficult to treat.
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