The signs and symptoms of a brain tumor vary greatly and depend on the brain tumor’s size, location and rate of growth.

General signs and symptoms caused by brain tumors may include:

  • New onset or change in pattern of headaches
  • Headaches that gradually become more frequent and more severe
  • Unexplained nausea or vomiting
  • Vision problems, such as blurred vision, double vision or loss of peripheral vision
  • Gradual loss of sensation or movement in an arm or a leg
  • Difficulty with balance
  • Speech difficulties
  • Confusion in everyday matters
  • Personality or behavior changes
  • Seizures, especially in someone who doesn’t have a history of seizures
  • Hearing problems

PITUITARY TUMORS

The pituitary gland is about the size of a bean and is attached to the base of the brain behind the nasal area. Although small, the pituitary controls the secretion of many different types of hormones. It helps maintain growth and development and regulates many different glands, organs and hormones. Changes in hormones can cause significant changes in our bodies.

Pituitary adenomas are tumors that can affect vision, sometimes causing vision loss. As they grow in size, pituitary adenomas can put pressure on important structures in the body, such as the vision / optic nerve. The optic nerve is the nerve cable that connects the eye to the brain. The optic chiasm is the point at which the two optic nerves cross. Putting pressure on the optic nerve may cause a gradual loss of vision or a loss of side/peripheral vision.  Loss of peripheral vision in the temporal or side area of our visual field is called a bitemporal hemianopia.  Left untreated, blindness can result, therefore early detection is key.

Symptoms of Pituitary Adenoma:

Besides vision changes such as double vision, droopy lids and visual field loss, pituitary adenomas also may cause the following symptoms:

  • Forehead headaches
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Change in sense of smell
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Depression
  • Unexplained weight changes
  • Change in menses or early menopause 

Diagnosis of Pituitary Adenoma:

Because of their affects on vision, ophthalmologists may be the first to diagnose a pituitary adenoma. To measure the extent of vision loss, eye doctors usually order a computerized visual field test. Because some pituitary tumors can cause hormonal changes, a complete medical history is also taken. The doctor may then order blood and urine testing, as well as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain.

Treatment of Pituitary Adenoma:

Pituitary adenomas are often treated with neurosurgery to remove the tumor. Radiation therapy are also used to kill tumors. Medications may sometimes be prescribed to help shrink the tumor.  After treatment, lifelong monitoring is essential to diagnose any recurrences of tumor.