The pituitary is a pea-sized gland positioned at the base of the brain below the hypothalamus. Abnormal cell division in the pituitary gland leads to pituitary tumors. Most pituitary tumors are non-cancerous. A pituitary gland tumor can be diagnosed with a brain-imaging test. About 25% of people have pituitary tumors without realizing their presence.
Types of Pituitary Tumors
There are the following types of pituitary tumors:
- Non-functional adenomas (null cell adenomas): It is the most common type of pituitary tumor, and the patients may not experience any symptoms.
- Prolactin-producing tumors (prolactinomas): The patients with this tumor produce excessive prolactin.
- ACTH-producing tumors: It stimulates the adrenal gland to secrete steroids that affect metabolism. ACTH- producing tumors also have an impact on the immune system.
- Growth hormone-producing tumors: These tumors produce a high amount of growth hormones. Too much production of growth hormones increases the growth of bones. It can cause acromegaly and gigantism.
Symptoms of Pituitary Tumors
Pituitary tumors produce many signs and symptoms of the overproduction of certain hormones.
- High blood pressure
- High blood sugar
- Weak bones
- Stretch marks
GH secreting tumors
- Heart problems
- Excessive sweating
- High blood pressure
- Enlargement of hands and feet
- Joint pain
- Increased body hairs
Prolactin secreting tumors
- Irregular menstrual cycle
- Lack of periods
- White discharge from breasts
- Erectile dysfunction
- Low sperm count
- Breast enlargement
- Less sexual desire
TSH secreting tumors
- Weight loss
- Fast heartbeats
- Irritation or nervousness
- Excessive sweating
If the patients have one or more of the above symptoms, they should visit the best pituitary tumor treatment doctors in Nashik.
Causes of Pituitary Tumors
The causes of pituitary tumors are unknown. However, tumors may be caused due to hereditary disorders such as Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia (MEN I). No known environmental or lifestyle factors increase the risk of pituitary tumors.
Diagnosis of Pituitary Tumors
Pituitary gland cancer is commonly undiagnosed, and its symptoms resemble other conditions. Despite that, some medical tests can diagnose a pituitary tumor, such as:
Blood and urine tests: These tests indicate the overproduction of hormones.
Brain imaging: CT scan and MRI help to determine the location of the tumor.
Vision testing: Testing indicates impaired eyesight caused due to pituitary tumor.
Treatment for Pituitary Tumors
There are several treatment options for a pituitary tumor. The patient should consult with the best hospital for pituitary treatment in Nashik.
Surgical removal of pituitary tumor is necessary when
- Tumour is pressing the optic nerves
- Tumors cause over secretion of hormones
Two types of surgical procedures are used for treating pituitary cancer.
Endoscopic transnasal transsphenoidal approach
The surgeon removes the tumor through the nose and sinuses without an external incision. Small tumors can easily remove by this technique. However, tumors that invade nearby brain tissue are difficult to remove through this surgery.
- Transcranial approach
The doctor creates an incision on the upper part of the skull to get access to the tumor. It can easily remove large tumors.
Radiation therapy: It is a more reliable and beneficial therapy when tumors return after the surgery. It includes the following methods:
- Stereotactic radiotherapy
The therapy targets the tumor with the help of a high radiation beam. It delivers the radiation according to the size and shape of the tumors. It targets only tumors without affecting healthy tissues.
- External beam radiation
The therapy involves a series of treatments on an outpatient basis. The therapy involves small increments of radiation over time. The therapy is effective. However, it may take significant time to control the growth of cancer cells.
- Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT)
The method uses a computer to assist the doctor in shaping the beam according to the tumor. The technique also limits the exposure of radiations to surrounding tissues.
- Proton beam therapy
The therapy uses positively charged ions or protons rather than X-rays. The technique uses a controlled beam of protons. Despite being less risky, it is not much in use because it requires special instruments.
Medications: Sometimes medications can decrease the excess release of hormones. Drugs may also shrink certain types of pituitary tumors.
- Prolactin-secreting tumor: The doctor prescribes drugs that reduce prolactin secretion and manage the symptoms.
- ACTH- producing tumors: The doctor prescribes medications to lower the secretion of ACTH in patients experiencing excessive symptoms.
- Growth-hormone tumors: The doctor prescribes drugs that decrease the secretion of GH.
Replacement of pituitary hormones: Replacement hormone therapy is used to maintain normal hormone levels. People may require pituitary replacement therapy even after radiation treatment.
Frequently Asked Questions
How is the recovery after pituitary tumor surgery?
The patient is allowed to go home 2-3 days after the surgery. No nasal packing occurs that may resist you from breathing. You can also safely recover at home. You may not experience any physical impairment after surgery. The only discomfort you will feel is a stuffy nose. A stuffy nose can also go away within two weeks. Avoid carrying heavy objects and driving after surgery. Avoid coloring your hair and swimming for at least four weeks after surgery. The complete recovery may be in 6 weeks.
What if I am pregnant and diagnosed with a pituitary tumor?
Pituitary tumors may cause some complications during pregnancy. But it may not cause any harm to the fetus. Pregnancy may also contribute to the growth of tumors.
What is the prognosis of pituitary tumors?
The 5-year survival rate for the pituitary tumor is 97%. However, the survival rate largely depends on the size and type of the tumor, age, stage at which the tumor is diagnosed, and response to treatment.
Can there be a recurrence of pituitary tumors?
Yes, it reappears after being cured. Therefore, it is advisable to have regular doctor visits and to undergo blood tests and imaging tests.