What are the chances of a pituitary tumor being cancerous?
Is a pituitary tumor cancer? No, in over 99% of patients, this is NOT a cancer; it is benign. Although the tumor is benign, it can cause problems because of its size, causing loss of vision, loss of normal pituitary function (hypopituitarism) and/or headache or because of excessive hormone production by the tumor. 4.
Cancers of the pituitary gland are rare. Only a few hundred have ever been described in medical journals. They can occur at any age, but most are found in older people. These cancers usually make hormones, just like many adenomas do.
A prolactinoma isn't life-threatening. But it can cause vision difficulties, infertility and other problems. Prolactinoma is the most common type of hormone-producing tumor that can develop in the pituitary gland.
A prolactinoma is a benign (noncancerous) tumor of the pituitary gland that produces a hormone called prolactin. Located at the base of the brain, the pituitary is a pea-sized gland that controls the production of many hormones.
The 5-year survival rate tells you what percent of people live at least 5 years after the tumor is found. Percent means how many out of 100. The 5-year survival rate for people with a pituitary gland tumor is 97%. Survival rates depend on the type of tumor, the person's age, and other factors.
Untreated, a prolactinoma can cause: Reduced hormone production if the tumor presses on the pituitary gland, which may lead to symptoms such as weight loss or fatigue. Osteoporosis (brittle, fragile bones) Pregnancy complications.
How can you tell if a pituitary tumor is benign or malignant?
MRI or CT scans can detect tumors in the pituitary gland. And blood and urine tests can determine hormone levels. Even under a microscope, it's difficult to recognize the difference between a cancerous and a noncancerous pituitary tumor.
Surgical removal of a pituitary tumor usually is necessary if the tumor is pressing on the optic nerves or if the tumor is overproducing certain hormones. The success of surgery depends on the tumor type, its location, its size and whether the tumor has invaded surrounding tissues.
Vision problems occur when the tumor “pinches” the nerves that run between the eyes and the brain. Sudden loss of vision, loss of consciousness, and even death can result from sudden bleeding into the tumor.
Prolactin levels are usually directly proportionate to the size of tumor ranging from below 200 ng/ml with less than 1 cm, 200 ng/ml to 1000 ng/ml with 1 cm to 2 cm and more than 1000 ng/ml with tumor sized more than 2 cm in diameter.
“Patients with high prolactin levels who have few or no symptoms and no demonstrable pituitary tumor may not need treatment, but infertile or pregnant patients, and individuals with bothersome symptoms require specialized treatment depending on the cause of their condition,” Melmed said in a press release.
“Pituitary tumours arise from the pituitary gland that lies on the floor on the inside of the skull, underneath and separate from the brain, back behind the eyes. These are not brain tumours, and the pituitary is not part of the brain itself.
Most prolactinomas remain small, less than 1 centimeter (0.4 inches) in diameter; these are called microadenomas. A minority grow larger, occasionally to several centimeters, and are called macroadenomas.
Luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) blood levels can be checked to see if you have a gonadotropin-secreting tumor. Levels of related hormones, such as estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone, are often checked as well.
Can you live a normal life with a pituitary tumor?
In general, when a pituitary tumor is not cured, people live out their lives but may have to deal with problems caused by the tumor or its treatment, such as vision problems or hormone levels that are too high or too low.
What causes prolactinomas? The cause of prolactinomas is unknown. In some cases, genetic factors may play a role. For instance, having an inherited condition called multiple endocrine neoplasia (MEN) type 1 increases your risk for prolactinomas.
Most pituitary tumors are not cancerous (benign). They don't spread to other parts of your body. But they can cause the pituitary to make too few or too many hormones, causing problems in the body. Pituitary tumors that make too many hormones will cause other glands to make more hormones.
Personality changes are also common when a pituitary tumour causes the pituitary gland to over- or under-produce hormones. This can affect your emotions and cause changes in your sex drive. Larger tumours can have a greater effect on personality, as they generally affect a greater area of the brain.