Treatments for pituitary gland tumours

If you have a pituitary gland tumour, your healthcare team will create a treatment plan just for you. It will be based on your health and specific information about the tumour. When deciding which treatments to offer you, your healthcare team will consider:

  • the type and size of the tumour
  • if the tumour has grown into (invaded) nearby areas
  • if the tumour makes too many hormones (called a functioning tumour) and which hormones are being made
  • any symptoms you are having
  • your personal preferences

Expert review and references

Treatments for pituitary neuroendocrine tumours (PitNETs)

Treatments vary slightly between the different types of pituitary neuroendocrine tumours (PitNETs). If the tumour makes too many hormones (called a functioning tumour), treatment depends on which hormones are being made.

Treatments for pituitary carcinoma

Since pituitary carcinoma is only diagnosed after it has spread to another part of the body (metastasized), treatments are usually to control the symptoms of the disease rather than to treat the disease itself (palliative treatment). Treatment options may include surgery, drug therapy or radiation therapy.

Surgery for pituitary gland tumours

Surgery is usually used to treat pituitary gland tumours. The type of surgery you have depends mainly on the size and type of the tumour and if the tumour has grown into (invaded) nearby areas.

Radiation therapy for pituitary gland tumours

Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays or particles to destroy tumour cells. It is sometimes used to treat pituitary gland tumours.

Drug therapy for pituitary gland tumours

Drug therapy uses drugs to treat pituitary gland tumours. Drug therapy is commonly used to treat pituitary gland tumours that make too much of certain hormones. It may also be used to return hormone levels to normal. Drug therapy is a systemic therapy that circulates throughout the body.

Follow-up after treatment for pituitary gland tumours

Pituitary gland tumours behave differently in each person, and a standard follow-up schedule would not work for everyone. People with a pituitary gland tumour should talk to their doctor about a follow-up plan that suits their individual situation. Follow-up for pituitary gland tumours is often shared among specialists, such as an endocrinologist and a neurosurgeon, and family doctor.

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.

We do our best to make sure that the information we provide is accurate and reliable but cannot guarantee that it is error-free or complete.

The Canadian Cancer Society is not responsible for the quality of the information or services provided by other organizations and mentioned on, nor do we endorse any service, product, treatment or therapy.

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