Pituitary tumours are rapid and uncontrollable growth of cells that leads to formation of an abnormal mass in the pituitary gland. The pituitary is a small gland, situated at the base of your brain. It regulates most of the important body functions such as maintaining blood pressure levels. Pituitary is known as the master gland as it regulates functioning of all other glands in the body. Pituitary tumours can also be benign or non cancerous, referred to as pituitary adenomas, which are harmless and can be treated easily.
The exact cause of pituitary tumours remain unknown. Genetic mutations and inheritance are believed to be the possible cause.
Symptoms of pituitary gland tumour vary depending mostly on the other glands which it had affected. Common symptoms of pituitary gland tumour includes:
- Mood changes
- Vision problems
- Erectile dysfunction in males
- Irregular menstrual cycle in females
Pituitary tumours are often diagnosed during medical tests for other conditions. Most of the time it is left unnoticed as the symptoms resemble other conditions. Diagnostic procedures for pituitary tumours include:
- Review of signs and symptoms
- Physical examination
- Medical history
- Family history
- Blood tests
- Urine tests
- Imaging procedures such as CT or MRI
- Vision testing
There is no known way to prevent pituitary tumours. The risk of developing pituitary tumours or any type of cancers can be reduced by a healthy lifestyle which includes intake of a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, regular exercise and avoiding alcohol and smoking.
Treatment for pituitary tumours depends on the type of tumour, size and its progression or stage.
- Surgery is the major treatment option in most of the cases. The whole or part of the pituitary is removed.
- Radiation therapy is also an option in which high energy beams are used to destroy the tumour.
- Medications are used to block excess secretion of hormones and sometimes to reduce or shrink certain types of pituitary tumours.
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