Pituitary Gland Cancer

By: Jacob Gray

About Pituitary Cancer:

This is a disease that 8,000 people in the US are diagnosed with this cancer.It is in the pituitary gland the gland that makes you change and grow.It is usually not cancer but it is something called a pituitary adenoma. About 6,000 of these people live.


A blood test can be done to see the level of hormones in the blood.An MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) can be done to see a detailed picture of the body.A CT or Cat(Computed Tomography) creates a 3-D image with an x-ray machine.A large pituitary gland tumor may press on the optic nerves, which are located above the pituitary gland.In this test, the patient is asked to find points of light on a screen, using each eye separately.You can also have a biopsy which is the removal of a small amount of tissue to look at under a microscope.A Lumbar Puncture(Spinal Tap) which they stick a needle in to get cerebrospinal fluid(CSF) to look for tumor cells,blood,or tumor makers.

Possible Causes:

Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia type 1 (MEN1): Families with MEN1 have a bigger risk of pituitary gland tumors.
Carney Complex: This is another genetic condition that can increase the risk of a pituitary gland tumor.
Familial Acromegaly: Acromegaly is a condition in adults that is caused by too much growth hormone. Familial acromegaly can occur as part of MEN or alone within a family.

Symptoms and Sign:

You maybe experiencing these symptoms or signs

Acromegaly,Unexplained tiredness,Mood changes,Irritability,Cushing’s Syndrome,Headaches,Vision Problems,Impotence,Infertility,and Inappropriate production of breast milk.

The Stages:

Because a pituitary tumor is usually non-cancerous,called a pituitary adenoma,its stage is classified from its size from an MRI.It can metastasis which means spread to an organ or something else not directly connected to the origin.

A microadenoma is the first stage and is around 10 mm.

A macroadenoma is the second stage and is bigger than 10 mm and can spread to the bones around the pituitary gland.


You can get different treatments like Active Surveillance which is someone who does not show symptoms from the tumor and is watched to see if the tumor  will just leave.You can get surgery which is the removal of the tumor and tissue around it,it is often successful.Radiation Therapy which is high-energy x-rays put by you to remove the tumor cells it may make you feel bad sometimes. HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) which you get because your pituitary gland  may not make any hormone or not make much at all.Drug Therapy is what you get when your pituitary gland is making to much of hormones, you can take medicine like Parlden,Dostinex,Sandostan,and Somavert.

Survival Rates:

You have a 75% chance of living during all of the stages,in the last ten years this has been true.If your cancer is in stage one and it goes into remission(The cells are dead or gone or the tumor is very small and it stops growing) but if you are in stage four and the cancer is spread you will probably not survive.You need to see this with caution this is based off of thousands of people in the last ten years and each person is different but from all the people 75% of them lived.About 8000 people in the US are diagnosed with this cancer a year.

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