What are the goals of treating acromegaly?
Since acromegaly affects everyone differently, treatment strategies need to be individualized.
One of the main goals of treatment is to achieve biochemical control – the normalization of growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) levels in the blood. Usually the first treatment is to remove the pituitary tumour, or to at least reduce its size with surgery but sometimes additional treatments, such as medication or radiotherapy, may have to be used.
Everyone has a different journey with acromegaly. The treatments you receive may need to change with time to achieve your individual treatment goals.
Reducing or debulking the tumour
One of the first things your doctor will consider in acromegaly treatment is surgery to completely remove or reduce the size of the pituitary tumour.
Although it may not always be possible to completely remove the tumour, because of its size or shape, smaller tumours are often removable.
Removing or debulking the tumour should normalize, or at least reduce, the levels of excessive growth hormone in the body.
If complete surgical removal is not possible, or if people cannot undergo an operation or decline to have surgery for whatever reason, medications can be used.
Hormone levels and symptoms
The main goal of acromegaly treatment is to reduce abnormally high levels of growth hormone and IGF-1 levels to normal (this is known as biochemical control).
Reducing GH levels may help relieve some symptoms of acromegaly.
Reduction of GH level may also be associated with reductions in swelling and joint pain.
Maintaining normal pituitary function
The pituitary plays an important role in the body, aside from controlling growth and development, as it produces hormones that affect the normal functioning of the other endocrine glands, such as the thyroid gland, the adrenal glands and sex glands (testicles and ovaries).
Please note that all treatments may have side effects. They vary depending on the treatment and how your body reacts to it. Always ask your doctor about side effects when considering a given treatment.
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Read about acromegaly treatment options, including surgery, radiotherapy and medications and the goals of treatment.
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Find an acromegaly patient support group in your country to learn about local activities and events that you may be able to attend.
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Information about the emotional, physical and social challenges of living with acromegaly