Cushings Disease Treatment

Cushing's Disease Treatment

If you have been diagnosed with Cushing's disease, your doctor will help you choose the right course of treatment for your condition. Treatment for Cushing's disease focuses on stabilizing hormone levels and removing the tumors to prevent future problems. Here are the most common Cushing's disease treatment options doctors will choose for their patients.

Surgical Removal of the Pituitary Tumors

The only true cure of Cushing's disease is to surgically remove the tumors that are causing the problem. However, because these tumors are quite small and because they are located in the nervous system, the surgery is not 100 percent effective. For small tumors that have not spread outside of the pituitary gland, the cure rate is 80 to 85 percent. For larger tumors, the cure rate is only 50 to 55 percent.

Surgery to treat Cushing's disease is performed by neurosurgeons who work carefully to remove the tumor in one piece. The surgery is performed through the nasal passages, so it is a minimally invasive procedure that requires minimal hospital time and creates little discomfort.

Medication to Manage Cushing's Disease

For patients who are not candidates for surgery, medication can help control the symptoms of Cushing's disease by inhibiting the adrenal gland's production of cortisol. While this is not a cure and does not shrink the tumors, it can, for some patients, significantly reduce their symptoms.

Radiation Treatment For Cushing's Disease

Sometimes the surgical removal of the tumor is impossible. When that happens, radiation can help control tumor growth. This Cushing's treatment is not ideal, because it does allow radiation to pass through the brain, but the beam is carefully targeted at the tumor and typically passes through with minimal damage to the surrounding tissue.

Stereotactic radiosurgery is the technique used to focus radiation directly into the tumor. The pituitary gland may be damaged during this treatment, resulting in delayed pituitary failure. This occurs when the pituitary gland fails years after treatment. Because of this risk, patients who undergo radiation therapy for Cushing's disease need to continue follow-up care with an endocrinologist. Some patients may need hormone replacement.

Bilateral Adrenalectomy

Finally, if the tumors do not respond to radiation or medication, and the patient is not a candidate for surgery, a surgical removal of the adrenal glands may be the best option. This will require hormone replacement after surgery, and patients will need to wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace. However, this may limit the symptoms of the disease.

If you have been diagnosed with Cushing's disease, discuss with your doctor which treatment for Cushing's disease is best for your specific situation. Schedule an appointment today, so you can begin to find relief from your symptoms.