Pituitary Tumors

What are pituitary tumors?

The pituitary gland is a small, pea-sized organ in the brain behind the back of the nose. The pituitary gland produces hormones that affect many other glands in the body. Although rare, most pituitary tumors are noncancerous (benign), comprising only 7 percent of brain tumors. However, because of the location of the pituitary gland, at the base of the skull, a pituitary tumor grows upward. Eventually, most pituitary tumors will press against the optic nerves, causing vision problems.

What causes pituitary tumors?

Researchers do not know at this time what causes pituitary tumors. However, research studies show that having a hereditary condition, multiple endocrine neoplasia, type I (MEN 1), increases the risk of developing pituitary tumors, thyroid tumors, and pancreatic tumors. Multiple endocrine neoplasia, type I (MEN 1) has been shown to be responsible for about all inherited (those that run in families) pituitary tumors, but only 3 percent of all pituitary tumors.

Treatment for pituitary tumors:

Specific treatment for pituitary tumors will be determined by your physician based on:

•    your age, overall health, and medical history
•    extent of the disease
•    your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
•    expectations for the course of the disease
•    your opinion or preference

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