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Pituitary Cancer - Causes, Types, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Written by
Dr. Lochana
and medically reviewed by Dr. Gursimran

Published on Mar 22, 2021   -  5 min read


Pituitary cancer can cause memory loss as a complication. Read this article to know more.

Pituitary Cancer - Causes, Types, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, and Treatment

What Is the Pituitary Gland?

The pituitary gland is a vital gland that is very small in size. It helps in the functioning of all endocrine glands and is known to be the master gland. It is a major part of the system of the endocrine glands. It is located on the back portion of the nostrils. The pituitary gland is involved in reproductive functioning, thyroid disorders, and the functioning of the adrenals.

What Is Pituitary Cancer?

A tumor or cancer occurring in the pituitary gland is referred to as pituitary cancer. It will contribute to severe alterations in the hormones. Most of the tumors occurring in the pituitary gland are not cancerous. These non-cancerous types are referred to as adenoma. The adenomas do not have the tendency to spread to the other tissues. The diagnosis of this tumor requires specialized tools that are recommended by the doctor. The treatment is planned and executed after the results of diagnostic reports.

What Are the Causes of Pituitary Cancer?

In most pituitary cancer patients, the cause is not known. Alterations in the genetic makeup can result in genetic mutations and can result in pituitary cancer.

What Are the Types of Pituitary Cancer?

The benign condition of the pituitary tumor is referred to as pituitary adenoma, and the malignant ones are referred to as pituitary carcinomas.

1. Pituitary Adenoma:

The pituitary adenomas are categorized into two types based on size:

The pituitary adenomas are further categorized into two types based on the functions. If the pituitary gland still functions by secreting the hormones, then it is known as a functional adenoma. If the complete loss of function of the gland is noted, it is called a non-functional adenoma.

2. Pituitary Carcinoma: In a microscopic examination, most of the pituitary carcinomas resemble pituitary adenoma. This type of pituitary cancer is very rare. It is usually found in older people. This cancer can spread to the spinal cord, brain, and bones that are found near the pituitary gland.

What Are the Symptoms of Pituitary Cancer?

The symptoms of pituitary cancer can happen due to the altered and increased level of pressure created by the tumor. The common symptoms experienced due to the pressure changes are loss of vision and headache. The symptoms can happen due to the imbalance in the hormonal levels also.

If there is a deficiency of pituitary hormones, the following symptoms could be noted.

If there is excessive production of pituitary hormones, abnormal symptoms could be noted.

Adrenocorticotropic hormones are altered due to the occurrence of tumors. They show the following tumors.

If the growth hormones are disturbed, the below symptoms are noted.

If the thyroid hormones are disturbed, the below symptoms are noted.

Symptoms are caused due to changes in the male and female hormones.

In women, the following symptoms are seen.

In men, the following symptoms are seen.

What Are the Risk Factors of Pituitary Cancer?

The risk factors associated with pituitary cancer are:

How Is Pituitary Cancer Diagnosed?

The problem with pituitary cancer is that in most cases, pituitary cancer are not precisely diagnosed. They are accidentally found on diagnosis for any other illness. A detailed history of the patient is required as the first process of diagnosis. After this, the clinical examination should be carried out by the doctor to find out abnormal symptoms. YOu will require help from an endocrinologist for an accurate diagnosis. The other diagnostic methods for detecting the cancer are:

What Are the Treatment Options for Pituitary Cancer?

Treatment for pituitary cancer involves both medical and surgical options. Radiotherapy treatment might be recommended along with medications.

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Last reviewed at:
22 Mar 2021  -  5 min read




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