Key Statistics About Pituitary Tumors

More than 10,000 pituitary tumors are diagnosed each year in the United States. Almost all of these tumors are benign (pituitary adenomas). Very few pituitary tumors are cancers (pituitary carcinomas).

The actual number of pituitary tumors may be much higher than the number of tumors that are found each year. When examining people who have died or who have had imaging tests (like MRI scans) of their head for other health problems, doctors have found that as many as 1 in 4 people may have a pituitary adenoma without knowing it. These tumors are often small and never cause any symptoms or health problems, so very few of them would normally be diagnosed at all.

Pituitary tumors can occur in people of any age (including in children), but they are most often found in older adults.

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Dorsey JF, Salinas RD, Dang M, et al. Chapter 63: Cancer of the central nervous system. In: Niederhuber JE, Armitage JO, Doroshow JH, Kastan MB, Tepper JE, eds. Abeloff’s Clinical Oncology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa. Elsevier: 2020.

Ostrom QT, Cioffi G, Waite K, Kruchko C, Barnholtz-Sloan JS. CBTRUS Statistical Report: Primary Brain and Other Central Nervous System Tumors Diagnosed in the United States in 2014–2018. Neuro Oncol. 2021:23(Supplement 3):iii1-iii105. Accessed at https://academic.oup.com/neuro-oncology/issue/23/Supplement_3 on July 6, 2022.

Last Revised: October 10, 2022

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