Pituitary Tumor

Pituitary Adenoma, Pituitary Carcinoma

The pituitary gland is small, located in a delicate area near the brain, and involved in regulating many essential body functions. As a result, pituitary tumor treatment involves care from a variety of medical specialists. At Duke, our pituitary tumor team works together to determine the most effective, customized treatment approach for you. We also coordinate your care to minimize the impact of treatment and help you get back to enjoying daily life.

Sydney McCann was back to playing volleyball two weeks after Duke neurosurgeon used an endoscope to reach and remove a skull base tumor that was pressing on her pituitary gland and causing her to lose her vision.

About Pituitary Tumors

The pituitary gland is a pea-sized structure located at the base of your brain, behind your nose. It produces hormones that direct other glands in your body to produce the hormones involved in a variety of body functions.

Tumors on the pituitary gland are common and often don't cause problems. But if the tumor causes your body to produce too many or too few hormones, it can create an imbalance that may lead to a variety of symptoms and conditions. A pituitary tumor can also press on nearby nerves connected to your eyes, causing vision problems.

Most pituitary tumors are benign (called pituitary adenoma). Rarely, a pituitary tumor is cancerous (called pituitary carcinoma) and can spread beyond the pituitary gland.

Who Can Treat a Pituitary Tumor?

Each pituitary tumor is unique, and treatment must be tailored to your individual needs and circumstances. When you choose Duke for your pituitary tumor treatment, you get coordinated care from a team of experts in their fields.

  • Your care team will include specialists with advanced training in endocrinology, neurosurgery, and ear, nose, and throat (ENT). Depending on your needs, your team may also include experts from ophthalmology, radiation oncology, neuro radiology, and other specialties. Our experts meet regularly to review patients' scans and test results, and determine the best possible course of treatment.
  • Your care will be coordinated by our nurse navigator, a single point of contact who will answer your questions and guide you through the treatment process. Whenever possible, you'll be scheduled for office visits, tests, and treatments on the same day. Our goal is to make the most of your time and to ensure your care team has the information they need to work together toward the best possible outcome for you.
  • If you need surgery, you'll be treated by neurosurgeons and ENT skull base surgeons with extensive training and experience in the most advanced techniques. This includes endoscopic techniques to reach the pituitary tumor through the nose as well as keyhole surgery to remove even large tumors through very small openings in the skull. These minimally invasive techniques can mean you heal faster and feel less pain.
  • You'll be among others from around the region and across the country who travel to Duke for pituitary tumor care. Our high-volume center frequently sees -- and successfully treats -- some of the most challenging cases.

Second Opinion for Pituitary Tumor

If you had a diagnostic scan or test performed elsewhere and are looking for a second opinion, please contact us. Our pituitary tumor experts will review your results, and a member of our team will contact you to discuss recommended treatment options and answer your questions.

We frequently treat people who travel to Duke from other parts of the country for pituitary tumor care. If you choose to undergo surgery at Duke but receive your follow-up care closer to home, we are happy to coordinate your care with your local doctors.

To obtain a second opinion, mail your scans to:
Duke Pituitary Tumor Center
DUMC 3805
Durham NC 27710


Your care team will recommend treatments based on the size, location, and characteristics of your tumor, as well as other factors such as your overall health.


These are the basic tests our doctors rely on most often in diagnosing and recommending treatment for a pituitary tumor. Your doctor may order additional tests based on your particular symptoms and circumstances.

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