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How is Cushing’s Syndrome Treated?

Treatment depends on what is causing the excess cortisol. If the cause is from steroid use over time, your doctor may tell you to stop taking the drug or give you less. If the cause is a benign or cancerous adrenal tumor, you will need surgery to remove it.

If Caused by Steroid Use

Often, stopping the use of drugs like prednisone will allow the body to go back to normal. But, to cut or stop steroid use depends on the type of disease being treated and how your body reacts.

If Caused by a Pituitary Tumor

Pituitary tumors can be treated with surgery. Usually an operation can be done through the nose (transsphenoidal surgery) by a neurosurgeon.

If Caused by an Adrenal Tumor

Adrenal tumors can be removed by a urologist. When the adrenal tumor is small (less than 4-6 cm), the tumor is more likely not cancer. It can be removed with a small cut through laparoscopic or robotic surgery. Sometimes part of the adrenal gland is removed (a partial adrenalectomy) to leave the healthy portion of the gland behind. When laparoscopic surgery is not possible, an “open” operation is used. Open surgery is used for larger or more difficult tumors. If the mass is larger than 4-6 cm, it is more likely to be cancer. Nearby organs (the spleen, kidney or a part of the colon) may also need to be removed or reduced to remove the entire tumor.