Pituitary tumor treatment

A pituitary tumor is a growth that begins on the pituitary gland located in the brain. The pituitary gland is responsible for all the functions of secretions and hormones on a healthy person. Most tumors are benign, but some turn to be cancerous. Most pituitary tumors do not spread outside the skull, so very large tumors can cause pressure and damage to the skull and areas of the brain. Some tumors can cause nerve problems or the pituitary gland can have hormone release problems that disrupt the entire body.

Symptoms of a pituitary tumor include headaches, vision loss, seizures, vomiting, fatigue, low blood pressure, los s of body hair, and weight loss or gain. These all point to the pressure in the skull and the loss of hormone regulation caused by the tumor. The cause of pituitary tumors is unknown, but heredity may play a role. Older men are at a higher risk for developing a tumor in the pituitary gland.

Many tests are done to determine if the problem is indeed a pituitary tumor. Blood and urine tests are done to test for abnormal hormone levels. Brain imaging can locate the tumor on an MRI scan, and vision testing can determine the effect of the tumor on the eye nerves.

Treatment for a pituitary tumor depends on the size of the tumor and its effects on the body. Surgery is a popular option for physically getting rid of the tumor on the pituitary gland. If the tumor is causing damage to the eyes and resulting in a loss of vision, then surgery may be necessary. Small tumors can be removed through the nose, and larger tumors will need to be extracted via an incision on the scalp. Another type of therapy uses radiation to destroy the mutating cells. It can also be used after surgery if the tumor keeps coming back or getting worse. Radiation therapy may also destroy healthy cells, resulting in complications. Gamma-knife radiosurgery helps to protect the healthy cells by delivering a beam that is the exact size and shape of the tumor so only those cells are treated. Another treatment option is with medication. Medication can either help reduce the size of the tumor or treat the effects of abnormal hormones. Parlodel and Dostinex are two drugs that effectively reduce the size of the tumor so that surgery is often not even necessary. The drug Sandostatin can decrease hormone production if the patient is experiencing too much of a certain hormone that is wrecking havoc on the body. Another drug Somavert blocks the effects of the excess hormone on the body.

Sometimes a tumor may be present but is not showing signs of stress or disaster on the body. The doctor may decide not to do any sort of therapy and just watch the tumor, called deferred therapy or observation. Some benign tumors are watched this way to avoid causing further problems with any surgery or medications that may disrupt the tumor and cause further problems. If the tumor does no harm, no action may be necessary. However, if the tumor grows and starts to show signs of complications, then the doctor will step in with the appropriate response of medication, surgery, or both.

A pituitary tumor can be scary since it is involved with your brain, but the treatment for this tumor is effective whether one uses a type of surgery to remove the tumor, or if drugs are used to decrease the tumor size. Sometimes action is not needed at all if the tumor is showing no signs of negative effects. With the advice of a doctor, one can choose the right treatment for their pituitary tumor.

Last updated on May 8th, 2010 and filed under Cancer Research. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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