What is a pituitary tumour?

The pituitary gland is a bean-sized organ located at the base of the brain, deep behind the nose. Although the gland is small, it affects almost every part of the body. It produces hormones that help regulate important functions such as growth, blood pressure and reproduction. Pituitary tumours are tumours that originate in this part of the body and manifest as an over or underproduction of hormones by the pituitary gland. Patients mainly suffer from headaches, loss of vision, visual field defects and uveitis, but fortunately the majority of these tumours are benign, with a relatively higher incidence in men than in women. There are two main types of pituitary tumours: functional pituitary tumours and non-functional pituitary tumours, of which the most common is prolactinoma, followed by growth hormone tumours and adrenocorticotropic hormone tumours (ACTH tumours).

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