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Pituitary Tumor Photo
Is a pituitary tumor cancer?
No, in over 99% of patients, this is NOT a cancer; it is benign. Although the tumor is benign, it can cause problems because of its size, causing loss of vision, loss of normal pituitary function (hypopituitarism) and/or headache or because of excessive hormone production by the tumor.
What are the symptoms of a pituitary tumor?
This depends on the type of tumor and the size of the tumor. A large tumor may cause loss of vision, particularly peripheral vision, if it compresses the optic chiasm. Headache may also occur; the type of headache varies from patient to patient. Headache may occur with a large or a small tumor. A tumor may interfere with normal pituitary function causing hypothyroidism , adrenal insufficiency , hypogonadism (loss of sexual function and fertility in men, loss of menstrual periods or fertility problems in women). Occasionally a pituitary tumor causes diabetes insipidus, which results in frequent urination and excessive thirst. Diabetes insipidus is not high blood sugar levels; it is a problem with the ability of the kidney to retain fluid because of a deficiency of the pituitary hormone, vasopressin that regulates water balance.
What is the best treatment for a pituitary tumor?
The best treatment depends on the type of pituitary tumor. Prolactin producing tumors are most successfully treated with medical therapy (pills). In over 90% of patients, medical therapy (pills) reduces tumor size and blood prolactin levels. In approximately 8-10% of patients, medical treatment is not adequately effective and surgery, and possibly radiation therapy, may be necessary.
The best treatment for other types of pituitary tumors is removal of the tumor by an experienced neurosurgeon who performs pituitary surgery frequently.
What happens if a pituitary tumor goes untreated?
In addition to causing pressure on the normal pituitary gland and adjacent nerves and brain, a non-functioning pituitary adenoma can cause pressure on the lining around the brain and the pituitary gland, leading to increasing headache usually behind the eyes.
Is a pituitary tumor serious?
Pituitary cancer is very rare. Still, the tumors can cause serious problems, either because of their size or because they make extra hormones your body doesn’t need .They’re typically treated with surgery, medicine, or radiation.