The pituitary gland is found in the skull, just above the nasal passages. It's connected to the brain in the hypothalamus area, and the gland is considered the body's most important hormone regulator. The pituitary gland monitors the activity of all of the other glands in the body. Malignant pituitary tumors--tumors exhibiting cancerous cells--are rare, but benign varieties can be uncovered. The diagnosis process for this form of cancer is similar to other types, but because brain scans are not routinely administered, it's rare to diagnose this disorder in the early stages.
Recognize the Symptoms of Pituitary Cancer
Things You'll Need
- Internet connection
Learn who is most at risk for pituitary cancer. The most prevalent factor is a history of cancerous glands in your family. If this exists, notify your doctor and request regular testing.
Watch for the most common signs of the cancer. These include paralysis of eye movements, double or blurred vision, loss of peripheral vision, facial numbness and pain and dizziness or a loss of consciousness.
Pay attention to additional signs that hormone secretion may be inhibited. Symptoms include stopped menstrual periods, impotence in men, decreased interest in sex and unexplained weight loss or gain.
Learn About the Tests for Pituitary Cancer
See your physician if you exhibit any symptoms or believe you have risk factors.
Allow your doctor to perform biochemical testing. This will reveal if there is an excessive hormone production problem, which is a sign of pituitary cancer.
Submit to blood testing, CT scans, MRI's and other body-imaging tests that can aid in the diagnosis.
Learn about your options in the event of a positive diagnosis. There are many treatments, including surgery, depending on the type of pituitary cancer contracted.
Learn more about the process of diagnosing pituitary cancer at the American Cancer Society Web site (see Resources below).
Ask your doctor about any immediate lifestyle changes you can make prior to testing. For example, he may want you to refrain from eating for a set number of hours.