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The majority of pituitary tumours are benign and slow growing. For this reason, the prognosis is good and they are usually cured with medical or surgical treatment. However, some tumours can damage neighbouring structures and have a more aggressive behaviour, requiring multiple surgeries and more complex treatments, associated with radiotherapy and/or medical treatment.
Chronic complications of the pituitary tumour
The most common chronic complication is the presence of a hormone deficiency, or hypopituitarism. This complication is more common in the case of large and/or more aggressive tumours. If the tumour is near the optic pathways, it can lead to loss of side vision in both eyes, or double vision due to involvement of the nerves that control the eye movements.
Likewise, the hormone produced in secreting tumours can lead to a series of complications if they are not correctly treated. For example, in the case of prolactinoma, there may be infertility, changes in menstrual rhythm or a decrease in libido.
In the case of acromegaly, there may be changes in appearance that are difficult to reverse, hypertension, diabetes, shortness of breath, a higher risk of other tumours, such as polyps in the intestine, or thyroid nodules, cardiac anomalies. Cushing's disease is also associated with physical changes, weight increase, high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis, and increased cardiovascular risk.