Cancer is a term that many people know, but most of those people do not know much beyond the basics. So, when a doctor tells you that you may have a tumor on your pituitary gland, you likely do not know what to think or expect going forward. Before you panic or begin to worry, get to know more about pituitary gland tumors and the possible treatment protocols for a tumor on the gland.
This will help you to have an idea of what may be going on inside your body and what you can do about it:
What Are The Symptoms Of A Pituitary Tumor?
First and foremost, you should know the symptoms that could lead you and your doctor to suspect that you have a pituitary gland tumor. People with pituitary tumors often experience headaches, nausea and vomiting, and inexplicable weight gain or loss. Unfortunately, however, these symptoms are common of many different disorders and illnesses.
Additionally, pituitary tumors can cause vision loss, high blood pressure, and an irregular heartbeat. For women, a pituitary gland tumor can also cause lactation when not breastfeeding, a lack of lactation when trying to breastfeed, and irregular or missing menstrual periods. More serious symptoms can include seizures and a runny nose that is the result of cerebrospinal leaking into the nose.
Because the pituitary gland is a part of the body system that secretes hormones, some tumors on the gland can also produce hormones themselves (though this does not always happen). Different tumors secrete different hormones and the symptoms of such tumors may be much more difficult to attribute to a pituitary tumor.
How Is A Pituitary Tumor Diagnosed?
If you and your doctor suspect that you may have a pituitary gland tumor, blood and urine tests will be able to detect if you have an over- or underproduction of hormones in your body. Brain imaging is the next step in diagnosis. A CT scan or and MRI will be able to detect the presence of a tumor as well as the size and position of the tumor to help develop a treatment plan.
What Are The Treatment Options For A Pituitary Tumor?
Once a tumor is found, treatment will usually begin very quickly. Pituitary tumors usually cause problems by pressing on the brain and the optic nerve and need to be dealt with before they cause permanent damage. If the optic nerve is compromised or the tumor is secreting hormones, it likely will need to be surgically removed.
However, under most circumstances your doctor will refer you to an oncologist for radiation therapy to break apart and shrink the tumor. If the malignancy has spread beyond the tumor itself, the oncologist may need to design a more extensive treatment plan that includes immunotherapy and chemotherapy.
Now that you know more about pituitary tumors, you know what to look out for, and how treatment will proceed if you do turn out to have one. While cancer can sometimes be enigmatic to the average person, knowing the signs and symptoms, diagnosis techniques, and treatments can help ease your mind, and help you stay focused on healing and health.
To learn more, contact a company like Southwest Oncology Centers with any questions or concerns you have.