The pituitary gland is a small oval-shaped endocrine gland located at the base of the brain just behind the nose and below the optic nerve (the nerve which leads to the eyes). It is about the size of a pea and is very important because it secretes several chemical messages known as hormones.
Hormones produced by the pituitary gland helps to regulate and control the secretion of hormones from other endocrine glands which are responsible for the body’s growth, metabolism and maturation.
Generally, pituitary tumours are benign (non-cancerous) and slow growing. Pituitary tumours constitute 10% of primary brain tumours. Pituitary tumours are either secreting (producing hormones) or non-secreting tumours (not producing hormones). Both categories may press on structures around the pituitary fossa e.g. the optic nerve.
The cause of pituitary tumours, like that of other brain tumours, is unknown. It can occur in all age groups, but it is more common in middle and older age groups.
Diagnosis of pituitary tumours is by the following: