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Pituitary Tumor Treatment

Healthcare Providers Involved in Pituitary Tumor Treatment

There are usually several healthcare providers involved in a person's treatment. The doctor may refer patients to doctors who specialize in treating pituitary tumors, or patients may ask for a referral. Specialists who treat pituitary tumors include:
 
  • Endocrinologists
  • Medical oncologists
  • Radiation oncologists
  • Neurosurgeons.
     

Getting a Second Opinion

Sometimes, it is helpful to have a second opinion regarding your diagnosis and the treatment plan. Some insurance companies require a second opinion; others may cover a second opinion if the patient or doctor requests it.
 

Specific Treatment Options

Depending on the type and extent of the pituitary tumor, treatment options include:
 
  • Surgery (removing the tumor in an operation)
  • Radiation therapy (using high-dose x-rays to kill tumor cells)
  • Drug therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • A combination of these methods.
     
Surgery
Surgery is a common treatment for pituitary tumors. A doctor may remove the tumor using one of the following operations:
 
  • A transsphenoidal surgery (in which the tumor is removed through an incision in the nasal passage
  • A craniotomy (in which the tumor is removed through an incision in the front of the skull).
     
Radiation Therapy
Radiation therapy (also known as radiotherapy) uses high-energy x-rays or other radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. The source of the radiation is usually a machine outside the body (external radiation therapy).
 
Clinical trials are testing stereotactic radiation surgery, in which radiation is aimed at the tumor only, with less damage to healthy tissue. A CT scan or MRI scan is used to find the exact location of the tumor. A rigid head frame is attached to the skull, and high-dose radiation is directed to the tumor through openings in the head frame, so only a small amount of normal brain tissue is affected.
 
This procedure does not involve surgery. Radiation therapy may be used alone or in addition to surgery or drug therapy.
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