Are pituitary tumors likely to spread? How are they treated?
Unlike malignant tumors, the vast majority of pituitary tumors are not cancerous and thereby do not spread to other parts of the body. The treatment of pituitary tumors includes surgery, medication or, in rare cases when they are malignant, radiation therapy.
The pituitary is a small gland located below the brain which is responsible for releasing hormones such as endorphins, growth hormone, prolactin and luteinizing hormone in the bloodstream. Sometimes, tumors may begin to grow on it, which are mostly non-cancerous. When pituitary tumors are not malignant, they cannot spread to other parts of the body, since they do not contain cancerous cells. Their treatment involves medication to help shrink the tumor and surgery for the complete removal of the tumor.
However, there are some rare instances when pituitary tumors are malignant, in which case they need to be treated as soon as possible to prevent spreading. Surgery may also be necessary in this case to remove the tumor, as well as radiation therapy to help decrease the size of the tumor. However, only a very small percentage of pituitary tumors are cancerous. Medical literature describes just several hundred of such pituitary tumors.