Prognosis and survival for pituitary gland tumours

If you have a pituitary gland tumour, you may have questions about your prognosis. A prognosis is the doctor’s best estimate of how a tumour will affect someone and how it will respond to treatment. Prognosis and survival depend on many factors. Only a doctor familiar with your medical history, the type and size of the tumour, the treatments chosen and the response to treatment can put all of this information together to arrive at a prognosis.

A prognostic factor is an aspect of the tumour or a characteristic of the person (such having other health problems) that the doctor will consider when making a prognosis. A predictive factor influences how a tumour will respond to a certain treatment. Prognostic and predictive factors are often discussed together. They both play a part in deciding on a treatment plan and a prognosis.

The following are prognostic and predictive factors for pituitary gland tumours.

Tumour size and invasion

Large pituitary gland tumours have a less favourable prognosis than small tumours. Pituitary gland tumours that are 1 cm or larger (macrotumours) are more likely to grow into (invade) nearby areas and can be difficult to completely remove compared to smaller tumours that are less than 1 cm (microtumours).

Large pituitary gland tumours can also press on the optic nerves and cause vision problems.

Hormone production

Functioning pituitary gland tumours that continue to make too many hormones even after they’ve been treated have a less favourable prognosis. The extra hormones can cause symptoms and health problems that may be hard to manage.

Other health problems

The prognosis is poorer when you have other health problems along with a pituitary gland tumour. Some health problems that can cause a poorer prognosis in a person with a pituitary gland tumour include:

  • high blood pressure
  • diabetes mellitus
  • heart problems
  • respiratory system problems

Expert review and references

Survival statistics for pituitary gland cancer

Survival statistics for pituitary gland cancer are very general estimates and must be interpreted very carefully. Because these statistics are based on the experience of groups of people, they cannot be used to predict a particular person’s chances of survival.

Medical disclaimer

The information that the Canadian Cancer Society provides does not replace your relationship with your doctor. The information is for your general use, so be sure to talk to a qualified healthcare professional before making medical decisions or if you have questions about your health.

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