A pituitary tumor is an abnormal growth in the pituitary gland. Pituitary tumors may be benign or malignant -- but even malignant pituitary tumors rarely spread to other body parts. The pituitary gland (which is located at the base of the brain) and adjacent structures are involved. Because of changing functions due to a pituitary tumor, all parts of the endocrine system eventually become involved.
Appropriate health care includes:
Physician's monitoring of general condition and medications.
Surgery to remove the tumor, cryohypophysectomy (freezing the tumor with liquid nitrogen), or surgery to implant tiny radioactive pellets in the tumor.
Postoperative radiation therapy.
Self-care after surgery and radiation.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSBlurred vision, double vision, dizziness, or a drooping eyelid caused by tumor pressure on nerves to the eye.
Headache in the forehead.
Nausea and vomiting.
Unexplained weight gain.
Retarded or excessive growth in your child.
Low blood sugar.
Low blood pressure.
Symptoms of abnormalities in other endocrine glands. See Hyperparathyroidism, Cushing's Syndrome, and Ovarian Tumor (all in Illnesses section).
Unknown, but it may be caused by a dominant genetic trait.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCENo specific preventive measures.
Your own observation of symptoms.
Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
Laboratory studies of cerebrospinal fluid and blood.
X-rays of the skull.
Special studies that may include ultrasonography, CAT or CT scan, MRI, and radionuclide scan (See Glossary for all).
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONSThe following complications may diminish or be reversed after surgery:
Loss of sense of smell.
Extreme hormone imbalance.
Curable with surgery if your child's tumor has not spread from the pituitary gland. If it has, fatal complications usually develop.
HOME CARENo specific instructions except those listed under other headings.
Hormone replacement medication for life. This may require frequent dosage adjustments.
See Medications section for information regarding medicines your doctor may prescribe.
Your doctor may prescribe:
Your child can resume normal activities gradually after surgery.
DIET & FLUIDS
No special diet.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?When effects of surgery have healed and when appetite has returned and alertness, strength, and feeling of well-being will allow.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your child has symptoms of a pituitary tumor.
The following occurs after surgery:
-- Bleeding at the surgical site.
-- Signs of general infections, such as fever, chills, muscle aches, and headache.
-- Clear discharge from the child's nose.