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Articles » NINDS Pituitary Tumors Information Page: NINDS

NINDS Pituitary Tumors Information Page: NINDS

Article title: NINDS Pituitary Tumors Information Page: NINDS

Main condition: Pituitary Tumors

Conditions: Pituitary Tumors, pituitary

What are Pituitary Tumors?
Pituitary tumors are abnormal growths found in the pituitary gland, a small organ--about the size of a dime and located in the center of the brain--which makes hormones that affect growth and the functions of other glands in the body. Most pituitary tumors are benign, which means they are non-cancerous, grow slowly and do not spread to other parts of the body. A pituitary tumor may make the pituitary gland produce too many hormones, which can cause other problems in the body. Tumors that make hormones are called functioning tumors, while those that do not make hormones are called non-functioning tumors. Certain pituitary tumors cause Cushing’s disease in which fat builds up in the face, back and chest, and the arms and legs to become very thin. Other pituitary tumors can cause acromegaly, a condition in which the hands, feet and face are larger than normal. Another type of tumor can cause breasts to make milk even though there is no pregnancy. Symptoms of pituitary tumors may include headaches, vision problems, nausea and vomiting, or any of the problems caused by the production of too many hormones such as infertility or loss of menstrual periods in women, abnormal growth, high blood pressure, heat or cold intolerance, and other skin and body changes.

Is there any treatment?
Pituitary tumors are best treated when they are found and diagnosed early. Treatments for pituitary tumors include surgical removal of the tumor; radiation therapy, using high-doses of x-rays to kill tumor cells; and/or drug therapy, using certain medications to block the pituitary gland from producing too many hormones. The most common treatment is surgery.

What is the prognosis?
Although prognosis depends on the type of pituitary tumor and the patient’s age and general state of health, pituitary tumors are usually curable.

What research is being done?
The NINDS supports and conducts a broad range of biomedical research on brain tumors, including pituitary tumors. Much of this research is aimed at discovering the cause(s) of brain tumors, finding better treatments, and ultimately preventing and curing them.


American Brain Tumor Association (ABTA)
2720 River Road
Suite 146
Des Plaines, IL 60018-4110
Tel: 847-827-9910 800-886-2282
Fax: 847-827-9918

Brain Tumor Society
124 Watertown Street
Suite 3H
Watertown, MA 02472-2500
Tel: 617-924-9997 800-770-TBTS (8287)
Fax: 617-924-9998

National Brain Tumor Foundation (NBTF)
414 Thirteenth Street
Suite 700
Oakland, CA 94612-2603
Tel: 510-839-9777 800-934-CURE (2873)
Fax: 510-839-9779

Pituitary Network Association
P.O. Box 1958
Thousand Oaks, CA 91358
Tel: 805-496-4932
Fax: 805-557-1161

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
National Institutes of Health
Bldg. 31, Rm. 2A32
Bethesda, MD 20892-2425
Tel: 301-496-5133 800-370-2943

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
National Institutes of Health
Bldg. 31, Rm. 9A04
Bethesda, MD 20892-2560
Tel: 301-496-3583

This fact sheet is in the public domain. You may copy it.Provided by:
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, MD 20892


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