Paraganglioma is a rare tumor formed from specialized nerve cells known as chromaffin cells. Tumors of chromaffin cells in the adrenal gland are known as pheochromocytomas. When they are outside this location, they are known as paragangliomas. Paragangliomas often develop near the carotid arteries or near nerves in the head and neck areas. Paragangliomas are usually benign (noncancerous) but may be malignant (cancerous). Paragangliomas often secrete hormones that can cause signs and symptoms such as high blood pressure, headache, rapid pulse, sweating, and tremors. In most cases, the cause of a paraganglioma is not understood. Medical professionals make a diagnosis by using a combination of blood and urine tests and imaging studies.
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