How are pituitary tumors treated?
Treatment options for pituitary tumors include:
- Surgery - This is the main treatment option and could be the only treatment you need. Our neuro-oncology surgeons use an advanced minimally invasive procedure called transsphenoidal surgery to remove both small and large pituitary tumors through the nose. During this procedure, your surgeon inserts an endoscope (small tube equipped with a video camera) through your nasal passage and opens up the sinuses to access the tumor. Because it is minimally invasive, transsphenoidal surgery ensures the protection of healthy tissue. If your tumor is large, your surgeon can use the nasoseptal flap (tissue from your nasal septum) to close the opening between your brain and nose and prevent cerebrospinal fluid leakage. Our surgeons also use MRI during surgery to check that all tumor tissue is removed before ending the procedure.
- Radiation therapy - This treatment uses ionizing radiation to kill cancer cells. Your care team could recommend radiation therapy if surgery isn’t an option, or they could suggest it after surgery to prevent or treat tumor recurrence. Radiation oncologists at the Institute use proton therapy, intensity modulated radiation therapy or stereotactic radiosurgery to deliver precise doses of radiation to pituitary tumors and protect healthy tissue. Proton therapy is an advanced form of radiation therapy that is more precise than traditional forms of radiation therapy. The Institute is the first cancer center in South Florida to offer this highly effective form of radiation therapy.
- Medicines - Your care team may prescribe medicines to stop the pituitary gland from making too many hormones.
- Chemotherapy - This is a cancer drug that kills cancer cells. Doctors use chemotherapy as a form of palliative medicine for cancerous pituitary tumors.
- Neurocognitive evaluation - This assesses your brain function and is done before you begin treatment. If you experience complications from radiation therapy or chemotherapy, another evaluation will be done to check for any changes in your cognitive abilities.
Once your treatment is complete, your care team provides follow-up care to treat any side effects of your therapy and monitor for tumor recurrence.
A multidisciplinary team of cancer experts including surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, plastic reconstructive surgeons, pathologists, radiologists, genetic counselors, medical geneticists, social workers, patient navigators and clinical trials staff meet weekly to discuss select complex cases and determine the best course of care. Stem cell transplantation experts and hematologic oncology experts are also available to discuss complex cases.
Miami Cancer Institute can provide access to clinical trials not widely available elsewhere. Clinical trials find new ways to treat and diagnose cancer and are ongoing. If an appropriate trial is available, we will talk to you about the benefits and risks.
South Florida's First Proton Therapy Center
Proton therapy is a highly specialized treatment that directs proton particles toward tumors to destroy cancer cells while largely sparing healthy tissue and decreasing the risk of side effects. This sophisticated treatment is used only for certain types of cancers and in a limited number of individuals.