Skip to main content

ACS & ASCO are Stronger Together: Cancer.Net content is now available on



Treating Pituitary Tumors

Nearly all pituitary tumors are adenomas. These tumors are benign (not cancer), but they can still cause serious health issues. Treatment of a pituitary adenoma depends on if it makes excess hormones and, if it does, which hormone it makes. Treatment also depends on the size of the tumor.

How are pituitary tumors treated?

The types of treatments that might be used for pituitary tumors include:

Common treatment approaches

While many pituitary tumors need to be treated, not all of them
do. For example, if a tumor is found on an imaging test done for some other reason and it’s not causing any problems, watching the tumor instead of treating it right away might be an option to manage the tumor.

When a pituitary tumor needs to be treated, the approach to
treatment differs by tumor type.

Who treats 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 make hormones
  • Otolaryngologist: a doctor who treats conditions of the ears, nose, and throat (also known as an ENT doctor or ENT surgeon).    
  • Ophthalmologist: a doctor who treats problems with the eyes
  • Radiation oncologist: a doctor who uses radiation to treat cancers and other tumors
  • Medical oncologist: a doctor who uses chemotherapy and other medicines to treat cancers and other tumors

Many other specialists might be part of your treatment team as well, including physician assistants (PAs), nurse practitioners (NPs), nurses, psychologists, social workers, rehabilitation specialists, and other health professionals. 

Making treatment decisions

If your tumor needs to be treated, your doctor will discuss your options with you. It’s important to take time and think about your choices, weighing the benefits of each option against the possible risks and side effects. It’s also important to ask questions if there's anything you’re not sure about. 

Because pituitary tumors aren't common, not many doctors have much experience with them. You may want to get a second opinion. This can give you more information and help you feel more certain about the treatment plan you choose. Many people find it helpful to get a second opinion about the best treatment options based on their situation, especially if they have several choices.

Thinking about taking part in a clinical trial

Clinical trials are carefully controlled research studies that are done to get a closer look at promising new treatments or procedures. Clinical trials are one way to get state-of-the art cancer treatment. In some cases they may be the only way to get access to newer treatments. They are also the best way for doctors to learn better methods to treat cancer. 

If you would like to learn more about clinical trials that might be right for you, start by asking your doctor if your clinic or hospital conducts clinical trials. 

Considering complementary and alternative methods

You may hear about alternative or complementary methods to relieve symptoms or treat your cancer that your doctors haven’t mentioned. These methods can include vitamins, herbs, and special diets, or other methods such as acupuncture or massage, to name a few.

Complementary methods are treatments that are used along with your regular medical care. Alternative treatments are used instead of standard medical treatment. Although some of these methods might be helpful in relieving symptoms or helping you feel better, many have not been proven to work. Some might even be harmful.

Be sure to talk to your cancer care team about any method you are thinking about using. They can help you learn what is known (or not known) about the method, which can help you make an informed decision. 

The treatment information given here is not official policy of the American Cancer Society and is not intended as medical advice to replace the expertise and judgment of your cancer care team. It is intended to help you and your family make informed decisions, together with your doctor. Your doctor may have reasons for suggesting a treatment plan different from these general treatment options. Don't hesitate to ask your cancer care team any questions you may have about your treatment options.