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PROLACTINOMA

A curable brain tumor can cause women to have irregular periods, be infertile or have milk in their breasts without being pregnant, and men to be impotent, infertile, and have no sexual desire, or have large breasts. All people with any of these symptoms should get a blood test called prolactin.

People who have a brain tumor called a prolactinoma, have elevated blood levels of a hormone called prolactin, but you can have high blood levels of prolactin without having a brain tumor is you are pregnant, are breast feeding, have low thyroid function, or take certain drugs to treat emotional problems. If you have this brain tumor and don't get treatment, you can develop osteoporosis or lose your ability to ever have a child.

Many drugs are available to cure this brain tumor, the best are cabergoline (given once or twice a week) and quinagolide (given once daily). Pregnancy helps to control prolactinomas. All people with elevated prolactin levels need a special MRI or cat scan of the brain to see how big the tumor is. Almost always you won't need surgery unless the tumor presses on a nerve to cause loss of function such as blindness. Surgery is not as effective as taking a pill and results in death one percent of the time it is done. Surgery and radiation can even cause this benign tumor to become malignant.

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Checked 8/9/05

May 16th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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