Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Patients With Pituitary Gland Tumors Are Often Misdiagnosed

Date:
April 29, 2005
Source:
Rush University Medical Center
Summary:
A recent study found that tumors of the pituitary gland are more common than many health care professionals realize, with national prevalence rates averaging 16.7 percent. To neurosurgeon Dr. Gail Rosseau, this isn't surprising. Rosseau, who treats patients with a variety of neurological conditions at Rush University Medical Center and the Chicago Institute of Neurosurgery and Neuroresearch (CINN), says that pituitary tumors are often misdiagnosed because of the confusing array of symptoms they present.

A recent study found that tumors of the pituitary gland are more common than many health care professionals realize, with national prevalence rates averaging 16.7 percent.

To neurosurgeon Dr. Gail Rosseau, this isn't surprising.

Rosseau, who treats patients with a variety of neurological conditions at Rush University Medical Center and the Chicago Institute of Neurosurgery and Neuroresearch (CINN), says that pituitary tumors are often misdiagnosed because of the confusing array of symptoms they present.

"Conditions such as osteoporosis, sexual dysfunction, depression, infertility, or growth disorders can be the result of abnormalities in the pituitary or "master" gland at the base of the brain. Many times this association is overlooked," Rosseau said.

"These types of tumors are generally not malignant, but they have many different and highly variable ways of making their presence known, "she said. "If misdiagnosed or untreated, they may progress, causing blindness, heart disease or in the worst cases, premature death."

Because the disease is complex, Rosseau saw the need for a patient education association in the Chicagoland area. The Greater Chicago Pituitary Education Association was founded in late 2004 and is underwritten by a grant from The CINN Foundation. Each quarterly meeting of the Association provides an educational presentation from a member of the Chicago medical community involved in the treatment of pituitary disease. The Association aims to include physician speakers ranging from endocrinologists, to neurosurgeons, to ear, nose and throat specialists and bridge institutional alliances.

The next meeting will take place at 6:30 pm on Tuesday, May 3 at The Neurologic & Orthopedic Institute of Chicago, 4501 N. Winchester, ground level.

Many patients are concerned about treatments and surgery because of the location and function of the pituitary. The pituitary is a small, pea-sized gland located at the base of the brain that functions as "The Master Gland." It releases stimulating hormones that signal the thyroid gland, adrenal glands, ovaries and testes, directing them to produce their respective hormones. These hormones have dramatic effects on metabolism, blood pressure, sexuality, reproduction, and other vital body functions. In addition, the pituitary gland produces growth hormone for normal development of height and prolactin for milk production.

CINN psychologist Dino Kostas said pituitary tumor patients have unique concerns, such as loss of vision, that require a different approach. He emphasized that an educational seminar is a great way to allay patient fears while allowing patients to ask questions of anyone on the treatment team.

"Most patients contemplating surgery have fears and concerns about the surgery, but with our patients, we see a heightened level of anxiety about the potential loss of vision because the pituitary gland is so close to the optic nerve," Kostas said. "Frequently, we talk to many patients who are also fearful that they will have decreased libido or become infertile."

Treatment depends on the type of pituitary tumor, the extent to which it has invaded the brain, as well as the patient's age and general health. Treatment is most effective when diagnosis is early, and it typically involves surgery, radiosurgery, and/or drug therapy, Rosseau said.

Ear, nose and throat surgeon Dr. Steven Becker, said that he is able to calm many anxious patients because surgical techniques have vastly improved in the last decade and recovery times are typically one month, down from more than two months previously. Becker has performed approximately 600 of these surgeries.

"As recently as 10 years ago, surgeons would use a craniotomy, which requires an incision under the lip and a full elevation of half the facial tissues to access the nasal interior," he said. "Now, we use an endoscopically assisted approach to access the pituitary gland during the two and half hour surgery. This approach allows surgeons to go up the nasal cavity in a minimally invasive manner," Becker said.

He stressed that surgical candidates are typically those with a past history of sinusitis, or nasal trauma. Becker said that patients who attend the educational forum tend to make for better patients because they ask good questions and the forum helps lessen the anxiety they feel.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Rush University Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Rush University Medical Center. "Patients With Pituitary Gland Tumors Are Often Misdiagnosed." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 April 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/04/050429125718.htm>.
Rush University Medical Center. (2005, April 29). Patients With Pituitary Gland Tumors Are Often Misdiagnosed. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/04/050429125718.htm
Rush University Medical Center. "Patients With Pituitary Gland Tumors Are Often Misdiagnosed." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/04/050429125718.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) The World Health Organization has declared Nigeria free of Ebola. Health experts credit a bit of luck and the government's initial response. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Another Study Suggests Viagra Is Good For The Heart

Another Study Suggests Viagra Is Good For The Heart

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) An ingredient in erectile-dysfunction medications such as Viagra could improve heart function. Perhaps not surprising, given Viagra's history. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 20, 2014) Forty-three people who had contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., were cleared overnight of twice-daily monitoring after 21 days of showing no symptoms. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fauci: Ebola Protocols to Focus on Training

Fauci: Ebola Protocols to Focus on Training

AP (Oct. 20, 2014) Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says he expects revised CDC protocols on Ebola to focus on training, observation and ensuring health care workers are more protected. (Oct. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins