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Diagnosing a pituitary tumor involves several steps. Your doctor typically starts by asking about your medical history, including any previous illnesses that might have weakened your immune system or involved radiation therapy. Your doctor will also ask about your family history, your habits, and your lifestyle.
Doctors use blood and urine tests to diagnose pituitary tumors. These tests enable doctors to determine if your hormone levels are abnormal. Your doctor may also test your vision, since pituitary tumors sometimes damage nerves involved with eyesight.
Imaging tests that take pictures of your brain also help diagnose a pituitary tumor. Doctors use a variety of imaging technologies, each offering different insights to confirm the presence, location, and type of tumor that may be present.
MRI to diagnose pituitary tumors Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the most common imaging doctors use to diagnose tumors in the brain. This test uses radio waves and magnets to create images of brain structures. A technologist or nurse may perform this scan by injecting contrast dye into your arm to illuminate the tumor’s location.
CT scan to diagnose brain tumors Some people cannot have an MRI because the magnets interfere with implanted medical devices such as pacemakers and cochlear implants. Computed tomography (CT) scans take combine multiple X-rays and provide doctors with another way to see structures in the brain.
Clinical trials are research studies that evaluate a new medical approach, device, drug, or other treatment. As a Stanford Health Care patient, you may have access to the latest, advanced clinical trials.
Open trials refer to studies currently accepting participants. Closed trials are not currently enrolling, but may open in the future.
Closed trials are not currently enrolling, but may open in the future.