The pituitary gland is actually a two-part gland, one on either side of the head, and each locus is approximately halfway between your eye and the top of your ear. It is a master gland for the endocrine system, greatly influencing the hormone glands throughout the body.
A brain tumor is an abnormal growth of cells in the brain, whether it is a primary tumor – beginning in the brain itself – or a metastatic tumor which has spread from elsewhere in the body. Brain tumors rarely spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body but rather stay within the skull. More than 700,000 Americans are currently living with a tumor located in the brain.
Each of the two parts of the pituitary gland is the size of a pea. It is located adjacent to the brain near the hypothalamus and the pineal gland, so it can therefore be severely impacted by a brain tumor due to its location.
How a Brain Tumor Can Affect the Pituitary Gland
There are a few types of brain tumors which are associated with the pituitary gland, including the following:
Pituitary adenomas are one of the most common intracranial tumors (i.e., tumors within the skull), and most of these tumors are benign and slow-growing. This type of brain tumor is the leading type of disease that affects the pituitary gland, and it usually affects people in their 30s or 40s.
This is a rare and benign type of brain tumor that begins to grow near the pituitary gland. If it grows larger, it can affect the pituitary gland’s functionality; it can also cause symptoms such as blurry vision, excessive urination, headache, and fatigue. It tends to be diagnosed either in very young children or in senior adults.
Symptoms and Treatment of Pituitary-Related Brain Tumors
Benign brain tumors such as those that tend to be associated with the pituitary gland grow slowly and don’t necessarily create any noticeable symptoms for the patient. Although it is unlikely for the tumor to spread, it can cause problems when it grows because it can press against nearby areas of the brain. The patient can be tested by a neurosurgeon for elevated levels of hormones, which is a typical effect of a brain tumor pressing on the gland.
Neurosurgeons generally recommend taking a wait-and-see approach to brain tumors that affect the pituitary gland. Side effects of the tumor’s influence on the gland can be treated with medication to regulate the hormone levels, but the tumor can be removed if it causes severe symptoms.
Brain Tumor Surgeons in Colorado Springs
If you have been diagnosed with a brain tumor, talk to one of our experienced neurosurgeons here at Front Range Spine and Neurosurgery. Our caring medical team provides comprehensive and patient-centered care designed to keep you healthy, and we will treat your tumor in the most effective way possible.
We have the best technologies and the most advanced treatments to help our patients enjoy life despite a diagnosis of a brain tumor. Even benign brain tumors such as those which are typically associated with the pituitary gland must be closely monitored by a neurosurgeon to ensure an optimum outcome.
To schedule a consultation, contact us today by calling us at (303) 790-1800 or fill out our online appointment request form now. We look forward to partnering with you for a lifetime of health and wellness.