Virginia Commonwealth University

VCU Massey Cancer Center

How are pituitary tumors diagnosed?

In addition to a complete medical history and medical examination, diagnostic procedures for pituitary tumors may include:

  • Blood and urine tests – to measure hormone levels.
  • Computed tomography scan (also called a CT or CAT scan) – a diagnostic imaging procedure that uses a combination of X-rays and computer technology to produce cross-sectional images (often called slices), both horizontally and vertically, of the body. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat and organs. CT scans are more detailed than general X-rays. 
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – a diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of large magnets, radio frequencies and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body. 
  • Biopsy – a procedure in which tissue samples are removed (with a needle or during surgery) from the body for examination under a microscope to determine if cancer or other abnormal cells are present.