March 2021


Teen Basketball Player Battles Cushing’s

A story on tells the story of a high school basketball player, Hannah Blankenship, as she battles Cushing’s Disease. Read more>

Distance Runner Outruns A Pituitary Cancer

michael masonA story in the “In Your Area” website in the U-K follows the case of runner 29-year-old Michael Mason, who survived a bout with pituitary cancer, and went on to become a P.E. teacher. Read more>

Photo courtesy:


13-year-old with Down Syndrome Beats Pituitary Cancer

An article from Stanford Children’s Health tells the story of 13-year-old Isabella Spadarella Christensen, who has Down Syndrome. She was diagnosed at age 9 with a germinoma – a form of cancer - on her pituitary stalk. Read more>

isabella christensenunicorn

Isabella chose a unicorn theme for her mask used in post-chemo radiation.
Photos courtesy Stanford Children’s Health

Indian Wrestling Champ Battles Acromegaly

dalip singhAn article in explains the pituitary story of 7-foot-1 inch tall acromegalic Dalip Singh. The former World Heavyweight Champion, known as “the Great Khali,” had his tumor surgically removed in 2012. Read more> 
Photo courtesy: WWE



March 2021 Medical Corner



varun kshettryThis month in the PNA Medical Corner we spotlight an article co-authored by Dr. Varun Kshettry, a member of the PNA. The study, on Craniopharyngioma epidemiology, was published in January in the journal Pituitary. Researchers utilized the Central Brain Registry in the U.S., which is most inclusive database for benign brain tumors encompassing >99% of the US population.

The key findings were the following: between 2004 – 2016, there were 7,441 craniopharyngiomas diagnosed. The overall age-adjusted incidence was 1.6 cases per 1,000,000 persons per year. There was a bimodal age distribution with a peak in 5-9 year old and 55-69 year old age groups. There was no difference in incidence between men and women. Papillary craniopharyngiomas were much less common than adamantinomatous tumors in all age groups, ranging from 5.5% of the craniopharyngiomas in 0-29 year old patients to 30.4% of the cranipharyngiomas in those over the age of 60. According to race, Black Americans had the highest incidence, followed by White Americans, and then Asians or Pacific Islanders.

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PNA Spotlight: Dr. Bernard R. Bendok


bendok bernard 440This month’s PNA Spotlight focuses on Bernard R. Bendok, MD, chair of neurological surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix. He earned a B.S. in Biology from Wayne State University, then a medical degree from Northwestern University. He stayed at Northwestern for his internship in surgery, a fellowship in neuro-endovascular surgery, and a residency in neurological surgery. He then did a fellowship in neuro-endovascular surgery at the State University of New York at Buffalo, and later returned to Northwestern to complete an MS in clinical investigation. Dr. Bendok was kind enough to answer a series of questions from the PNA. His answers follow.

· What inspired you to choose your career path?

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