Sue Perkins health: Star on her 'alarming' prolactinoma diagnosis – what is the condition?

In most cases, prolactinomas and related health problems can be successfully treated with medicine and tumours similar to Perkins’, which makeup around 40 percent of all pituitary tumours, are sometimes treated with surgery or radiation therapy, but this depends on the size and location of the tumour.

Prolactinomas are usually small, less than one centimetre in diameter. These small tumours are called “microprolactinomas”. However, less commonly, a tumour may grow to more than one centimetre in diameter. These larger tumours are called “macroprolactinomas”.

Macroprolactinomas in particular may press against nearby parts of the pituitary gland and the brain, causing complications that can include:

  • Vision problems, caused when the tumour presses on the optic nerves or optic chiasm
  • Headaches
  • Low levels of other pituitary hormones, such as thyroid hormones and cortisol.

The NIDDK adds that in addition to infertility, individuals can also be more at risk of osteoporosis, which weakens bones making them more fragile and prone to breakages or fractures.


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