Pituitary tumours occur in the small pituitary gland at the base of the brain.
Because the pituitary gland helps regulate a range of the body’s functions and hormones, a tumour can upset normal functions or cause a change in hormone levels. Pressure on the optic nerve can also lead to problems with vision. Symptoms vary but might include:
- headaches and light-headedness
- sight problems
- loss of libido
- erectile dysfunction for men
- menstrual irregularities for women
- cognitive difficulties, including problems with thinking
- nausea and vomiting.
Diagnosis and Treatment Options
Pituitary tumours are often discovered when patients present to their GP with some or all of the above symptoms. GPs often order diagnostic tests, such as computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. Other times they are referred immediately to the emergency department of their local hospital or directly to a Neurosurgeon for an emergency consultation/admission, collaboration with an endocrinologist, ophthalmologist, pathologist and radiologist and sometimes ENT surgeon.
Medication such as Dexamethazone may be prescribed to reduce swelling caused by some brain tumours. Surgery usually involves removing the tumour using an endoscope through the nasal cavity and sinus passages. In some cases, the tumour might be removed through the front of the skull.
Sometimes the whole pituitary gland will need to be removed. In this case, or where the tumour has impaired normal hormone function, hormone replacement therapy might be needed.
Recovery can differ from patient to patient, depending on the type, size and location of the tumour.
Dr Tollesson works in conjunction with a team of specialists, such as Endocrinologists, ENT surgeons, Radiologists, Oncologists, Pathologists, Ophthalmologists, Speech Pathologists, Rehabilitation Consultants, Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists to give you the most appropriate treatment during your pre and post-operative recovery.