The image above is my very own MRI taken in the year 2009. It is the very first MRI I had taken regarding my pituitary microadenoma and before I started on any medication. The following paragraphs are just simply information regarding pituitary tumors that I found interesting and useful.
Pituitary adenomas are tumors that occur in the pituitary gland and can either be benign, invasive, or carcinogenic. About 10% - 15% of all brain tumors are pituitary tumors, making it the third most common type of brain tumor. They occur more frequently in women than in men and usually develop between the ages of 30 to 40. It is said that about 10% - 25% of people have these pituitary adenomas, but because some people never experience the symptoms, they can go undetected. Adenomas larger than 10mm in size are labeled as macroadenomas, while those smaller than 10mm are called microadenomas.
Some tumors secrete hormones that are normally made by the pituitary gland and some are inactive. Those that secrete hormones are uncontrolled, which causes them to release large amounts of hormones, resulting in a hormone imbalance. The two most common types of hormone producing pituitary adenomas secrete prolactin, or otherwise known as prolactinoma, and growth hormones. Symptoms that may occur due to prolactinoma are lactation in the absence of pregnancy or breast feeding, or increased intracranial pressure. Growth hormone secreting adenomas cause rapid growth spurt, resulting in disorders such as acromegaly.
The most current and common treatments include radiation therapy, surgery, or in the case of prolactinomas, cabergoline or quinagolide. Surgery can remove the tumor possibly without damaging other parts of the brain. The medication, cabergoline, may be capable of reducing the size of the tumor, although a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) should be performed periodically to ensure the medication’s effectiveness.