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How are pituitary tumors discovered?

Marvin Bergsneider, MD
Neurosurgery
Some pituitary tumors secrete an excess amount of a certain type of hormone. If they do so, it's those chemical effects on your body that lead to the discovery of the pituitary tumor. In other cases, the pituitary tumor can grow quite large in size, and then it can start affecting the tissues around it. If it grows upward towards the optic nerves, it can cause visual loss and people can lose their peripheral vision. If it compresses the normal gland, then you start losing function of the normal gland and you could have hormonal effects due to that. You could also have a combination of these symptoms. If you have hormonal effects and a large tumor, you could have visual loss. You can have an excess of certain hormones, and a diminishment of certain other key hormones. In some cases, people may have a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan or a computed axial tomography (CAT) scan for some unrelated reason and there will be an incidental discovery of a pituitary tumor.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.