The pituitary gland is located in a delicate area near the brain and is involved in regulating many essential body functions. As a result, pituitary gland tumor treatment requires care from a variety of medical specialists. At Duke, a team works together to determine the most effective, customized treatment approach for you. We also coordinate your care to minimize the tumor’s impact and help you get back to enjoying daily life.
About Pituitary Tumors
The pituitary gland is a pea-sized structure located at the base of your brain, behind your nose. It produces hormones and directs other glands in your body to produce hormones.
Tumors on the pituitary gland are common and may not 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.
Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.
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.
This gives doctors a detailed visual image of the pituitary area. You may be given a special dye -- through an injection into your vein or a pill that you swallow -- to increase the contrast of the image. This test usually lasts 30-60 minutes and is virtually painless.
Hormone Level Testing
Samples of your blood will be collected and tested to determine whether your pituitary tumor is causing a hormone imbalance and how this may be affecting your health. In some cases, your doctor may order urine or saliva tests to gather more information.
An ophthalmologist or optometrist will test the clarity of your vision as well as look for problems such as double vision and peripheral vision loss that can be caused by a pituitary tumor pressing on an optic nerve.
Our pituitary tumor experts will review your diagnostic scans performed elsewhere and contact you to discuss an effective treatment plan. Please call 919-681-9928, and our nurse navigator will help make arrangements for your second opinion.
Why Choose Duke
Your care team will include specialists with advanced training in endocrinology, neurosurgery, and otolaryngology (ear, nose, and throat). Depending on your needs, your team may also include experts from neuro-ophthalmology, radiation oncology, neuroradiology, 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 don’t live near Duke but choose to have surgery here, we can coordinate with your local doctors for follow-up care.
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.