- How are pituitary tumors treated?
- Surgery for pituitary tumors
- Radiation therapy for pituitary tumors
- Medicines to treat pituitary tumors
- Clinical trials for pituitary tumors
- Complementary and alternative therapies for pituitary tumors
- Treatment of functional (hormone-producing) pituitary tumors
- Treatment of non-functional (not hormone-producing) pituitary tumors
- Treatment of pituitary carcinomas
- More treatment information for pituitary tumors
How are pituitary tumors treated?
General treatment information
Nearly all pituitary tumors are adenomas (benign tumors). Treatment of a pituitary adenoma depends on whether or not it makes a hormone and, if it does, which hormone it is. Treatment also may depend on whether it is a microadenoma (smaller than 1 centimeter across) or a macroadenoma (1 centimeter across or larger).
Treatment for pituitary tumors may include:
- Radiation therapy
- Medicines that block tumor hormone secretion or block the symptoms caused by these hormones
Sometimes a combination of treatments is used. For example, surgery may be done to remove some of the tumor, while drugs can be used to relieve symptoms and sometimes shrink the remaining tumor.
Your doctor will discuss treatment options with you. It is important to take time and think about all of your choices. It’s also important to ask questions if there is anything you’re not sure about. You can find some good questions to ask in the section, “What should you ask your doctor about pituitary tumors?”
You may want to get a second opinion. Because pituitary tumors are uncommon, not many doctors have much experience with them. Your doctor should not mind if you want to get a second opinion.
No matter what treatment you decide on, it should be done by doctors who have experience treating pituitary tumors. Pituitary tumors often require care from a team of doctors. Doctors on your team may include:
- Neurosurgeon: a doctor who uses surgery to treat brain and pituitary tumors
- Endocrinologist: a doctor who treats diseases in glands that secrete hormones
- Neurologist: a doctor who diagnoses and treats brain and nervous system diseases
- Radiation oncologist: a doctor who uses radiation to treat cancer
- Medical oncologist: a doctor who uses chemotherapy and other medicines to treat cancers
Many other specialists may be involved in your care as well, including nurse practitioners, nurses, psychologists, social workers, rehabilitation specialists, and other health professionals.
The next few sections describe the types of treatments used for pituitary tumors. This is followed by a description of the most common approaches used based on the type of tumor (functional tumors, non-functional tumors, and carcinomas).
Last Medical Review: 01/11/2013
Last Revised: 01/11/2013