Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Patients with pituitary gland tumors are often misdiagnosed


Educational seminar seeks to inform, calm anxious patients

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.

Mary Ann Schultz | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Greater Range and Longer Lifetime

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VDI presents International Bionic Award of the Schauenburg Foundation

26.10.2016 | Awards Funding

3-D-printed magnets

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>