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Pheo Paratroopers - Patients helping patients

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Allen Wilson of the Pheo Paratroopers joins Joyce and Mike to talk about the organization, its mission, and the recent International Conference on Pheochromocytoma and Paraganglioma.

Pheochromocytomas ("pheos" for short) are hormone-secreting tumors that can provoke that "fight or flight" response that has been protecting us from danger since the saber-toothed tiger.  While it is an important response, if there is in fact no danger, the artificial response can cause changes in blood pressure and digestion.  If not corrected quickly, this continual jagging of the system can lead to cardiovascular damage.

Pheochromocytomas in the chest or neck are usually called paragangliomas. They occur on the ganglia (bunches of nerves) along the sympathetic nervous sytem.

There are many genetic flaws that can increased the odds of getting a pheo.  Families who know they are at risk can do periodic screening to find pheos and paras early, so that they can be treated before cardiovascular damage occurs.

For more information about pheochromocytomas, paragangliomas, research and diagnostic information, see http://www.pheoparatroopers.org/