Pheochromocytoma and Paraganglioma: Statistics

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 02/2021

ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about the number of people who are diagnosed with a pheochromocytoma or paraganglioma each year. You will also read general information on surviving these diseases. Remember, survival rates depend on several factors. Use the menu to see other pages.

Pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas are rare. In the United States, about 2 to 8 people per every 1 million people are diagnosed with these tumors each year. Around 100 to 200 of these cases are malignant. Paragangliomas are far less common than pheochromocytomas.

Pheochromocytomas affect men and women equally. The tumor can be diagnosed at any age, but it is most common between the ages of 30 and 50. Approximately 10% of these tumors are diagnosed in children. Age at diagnosis depends on whether the tumor is related to an inherited syndrome. People younger than 50 are more likely to have a hereditary pheochromocytoma (see Risk Factors).

The 5-year survival rate tells you what percent of people live at least 5 years after a tumor is found. Percent means how many out of 100. However, the survival rate depends on many factors, including the location of the tumor and its stage.

Localized pheochromocytomas have a 5-year survival rate of 95%. The 5-year survival rate for a pheochromocytoma that has spread or recurred is estimated to be between 40% to 45%.

It is important to remember that statistics on the survival rates for people with a pheochromocytoma or paraganglioma are an estimate. The estimate comes from annual data based on the number of people with these tumors in the United States. Also, experts measure the survival statistics every 5 years. So the estimate may not show the results of better diagnosis or treatment available for less than 5 years. People should talk with their doctor if they have any questions about this information. Learn more about understanding statistics.

Statistics adapted from the websites of the National Cancer Institute and the National Organization for Rare Disorders (sources accessed February 2021).

The next section in this guide is Risk FactorsIt explains the factors that may increase the chance of developing a pheochromocytoma or paraganglioma. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.