Pituitary Tumor Treatment Overview
Medications, Radiation Therapy, and Surgery
Treatment for pituitary tumors usually depends on what type of tumor it is, including its size and shape.
The main goals of all of these treatments are the same: to return your hormone levels to normal if possible and to treat any symptoms caused by the size of the tumor (which means that you may need treatment to shrink your tumor).
To treat a pituitary tumor, medications are sometimes used to help block too much of a certain hormone being produced. What medications you take depends on what hormone is being overproduced. Additionally, there are some medications that may shrink pituitary tumors. Read the full article on pituitary tumor medications for more details.
Radiation therapy may also be used to treat your tumor. Using high-energy x-rays or gamma rays to shrink your tumor, radiation therapy can be used after surgery or alone. It's especially useful if a tumor persists or returns even after surgery. For more specific information, read the pituitary tumor radiation therapy article.
Surgery may be used to remove some or all of the tumor. Surgery may be necessary if the tumor is pressing on your optic nerves, which can potentially lead to blindness.
But treating a pituitary tumor isn't the same for everyone. In fact, there's no single set treatment pattern for treating these tumors. For example, you may only need to take medications to normalize your hormone levels and shrink your tumor, or you may need to use all 3 treatments. It really depends on what type of tumor you have.
Additionally, if one type of treatment doesn't work to control your tumor, you may need to try another treatment. For instance, medications may be used if surgery is unsuccessful in normalizing your hormone production. And if your tumor grows back after surgery, you may need radiation therapy.
Another thing to keep in mind is that treating a pituitary tumor isn't always appropriate, especially if you're older or are in poor health. However, many people who have pituitary tumors (no matter what their age or how healthy they are) can function normally without their tumor causing any problems or ever needing treatment for it.
It's also important to note that you may need to take hormone replacement medication—even after your pituitary tumor has been successfully treated—because of decreased hormone production, either directly caused by a pituitary tumor or the removal of a pituitary tumor.