“When I was first diagnosed I was told there were a lot of different options”
This patient testimonial reflects only this person’s opinions about their own care. Each person’s case is unique and you should always consult a doctor for information and advice about the diagnosis and treatment of acromegaly.
Please note that all treatments may have side effects. They vary depending on the treatment and how your body reacts to it. Ask your doctor about side effects when considering a given treatment.
An important goal of acromegaly treatment is to completely remove or reduce the size of the pituitary tumour. This is most often achieved by surgery.
Although it may not always be possible to completely remove the tumour, because of its size or shape, smaller tumours (<1–2 cm) are often removable.
Removal or debulking the tumour should normalise, or at least reduce the levels of excessive growth hormone in the body.
A further goal of surgery is to stop the tumour pressing on nearby structures such as the normal pituitary gland or the optic chiasm.
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.
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).
Keeping growth hormone and IGF-1 levels within normal levels is important for overall long-term health and should provide some relief from symptoms.
Although achieving biochemical control may not completely reverse all of the physical symptoms or signs of acromegaly, such as a protruding jaw or enlarged hands or feet, it may reduce swelling of the soft tissues quite quickly, particularly around the face. This is often apparent to both the patient and their family.
Achieving biochemical control is also very important to reduce or prevent co-morbidities, such as heart problems.
Another important goal of treatment is to ensure that the pituitary gland is able to continue to function as normally as possible once the benign pituitary tumour is removed or reduced in size.
The pituitary plays an important role in the body aside from controlling growth and development, and 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).
Successful treatment of acromegaly involves not only keeping growth hormone and IGF-1 levels within their normal ranges but also appropriately managing other health issues that may arise.
Keeping conditions associated with acromegaly, such as diabetes mellitus or heart problems (e.g. atherosclerosis and hypertension) well managed are important to help maximise an individual’s life expectancy.
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.
Read and hear answers to some common questions that patients with acromegaly have asked
Find an acromegaly patient support group in your country to find out about local activities and events that you may be able to attend
Information about the emotional, physical and social challenges of living with acromegaly