Rare cancers may be appearing as childhood ADHD
These rare cancerous tumors, known as paragangliomas and pheochromocytomas, may manifest the same symptoms that are typically diagnosed as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children.
This discovery is alarming, as misdiagnosing these tumors as ADHD results in inappropriate treatment that could increase negative symptoms -- and ultimately damages the children’s health.
The study involved 43 children between January 2006 and May 2014. All of the children had been diagnosed with these rare tumors, which release catecholamines that stimulate the central nervous system.
Nine of the children involved in the study had received ADHD diagnoses before doctors found their tumors. Four of these nine had received ADHD drugs, including methylphenidate, amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. The children then developed excessive sweating, headaches and hypertension symptoms.
The results of the study showed that after the children had had their tumors removed through procedures, three of the children did not show ADHD symptoms.
The scientists surmise that high blood pressure, which is typically associated with ADHD, may be a warning that children have a more serious health problem than ADHD.
Organizations in this story
National Institutes of Health 9000 Rockville Pike Bethesda, MD 20892