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The pituitary gland is one of several glands in the body that produce important hormones. In some instances, abnormal growths can develop within the pituitary gland—these are called pituitary tumors, and they lead to changing levels of hormones produced by the gland.
Most pituitary tumors are noncancerous growths (benign adenomas), meaning they stay in the gland or surrounding tissues and do not spread to other parts of the body. Here are some basic facts you need to know about pituitary tumors, including how to recognize and treat them.
Not all pituitary tumors cause noticeable symptoms, but in cases where they are present, symptoms can include:
Symptoms of pituitary tumors can be exhibited in three ways:
Along with possible vision loss, pituitary tumors can cause permanent hormone deficiency.. A rare but serious complication, pituitary apoplexy, is marked by sudden bleeding into the tumor and will feel like the worst headache of your life. This condition requires immediate emergency treatment.
There are no known direct causes for uncontrolled cell growth in the pituitary gland. A small percentage of cases run in families, but most do not appear to be influenced directly by genetics—scientists still suspect genetics play a role in tumor development, however.
Risk factors of pituitary tumors include these three hereditary syndromes:
In many cases of pituitary tumors, different types of doctors work together to craft an overall treatment plan utilizing several treatment types. Treatment options depend on factors such as the type and stage of the tumor, its possible side effects, patient preferences and the overall health of the patient. Treatment options may include:
If you are experiencing symptoms of a pituitary tumor, your doctor can offer proper diagnosis and a recommendation for treatment.
“Pituitary Gland Tumor Guide.” Cancer.net. http://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/pituitary-gland-tumor/introduction
“Pituitary tumors.” The Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pituitary-tumors/home/ovc-20157627
The Live Better Team
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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.