Put your finger in the space between your eyes and imagine a line extending from your fingertip halfway through your skull. The point where the line ends is approximately where your pituitary gland is located. It produces hormones that affect your growth, sexual function, metabolism, blood pressure and other essential processes.
Almost all pituitary tumors are benign (not cancer). They’re called pituitary adenomas. (Pituitary cancers — called pituitary carcinomas — are very rare.) Although pituitary adenomas don't spread to other parts of the body as malignant tumors do, they can still cause significant health problems, such as Cushing’s Disease and acromegaly. This is because they’re close to the brain, and many of them produce too much of one or more hormones.
How Are pituitary/skull base tumors treated?
At Roswell Park, pituitary tumors and other tumors located at the base of the skull are removed through expanded endoscopic endonasal surgery. In this minimally invasive procedure, a head and neck surgeon and neurosurgeon work together in the operating room. The head and neck surgeon inserts an endoscope — a thin, lighted telescope with a camera on one end — through one of the patient’s nostrils, and the camera sends images from inside the head to a flat-screen TV in the operating room. Surgical instruments are inserted through the other nostril so the head and neck surgeon can create a channel from the nose and sinuses to the skull base while viewing the surgical field on the TV. The neurosurgeon then removes the tumor using similar techniques, without opening the skull and exposing the brain.
You need specialized care when cancer affects your endocrine system
Your pituitary gland is part of your endocrine system — the glands in your body that manufacture hormones. Roswell Park provides comprehensive diagnostic and treatment services to patients with benign or malignant tumors and conditions affecting the endocrine system, including pituitary tumors. Our endocrinologists collaborate with surgeons, oncologists, radiologists and pathologists to provide the best possible care for these patients.
Treating the tumor itself isn't enough. We go beyond treatment by anticipating and managing side effects with a specific plan tailored to suit your needs.
You will be monitored closely before, during and after treatment to effectively manage your long-term health.