The endocrine system is a system of glands, including the:
- Adrenal gland
- Thyroid gland
- Pituitary gland
These glands work together and secrete different hormones into the blood to help regulate mood, metabolism, growth and development. Cancer can form in any of these glands and affect the entire body.
Types of Endocrine Cancers
- Thyroid Cancer: Approximately 38,000 people are diagnosed with thyroid cancer in the United States every year. Although there are some aggressive forms of this disease, most thyroid cancers develop slowly. The outlook is generally excellent, with about 98 percent of patients surviving at least 20 years after diagnosis. Thyroid cancer usually first appears as a nodule in the neck, but many cases are detected by CT scans and imaging studies performed for other health issues.
- Adrenal Cancer: The adrenal glands are small structures located on the top of each kidney. Adrenal tumors are very rare. They involve cancers that originate in the adrenal gland or cancers that have spread to the adrenal glands from other parts of the body.
- Neuroendocrine Tumors: Neuroendocrine tumors are relatively rare malignancies that originate from hormone-producing cells in the pancreas and other organs.
- Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia (MEN): MEN syndromes are rare complexes of endocrine disorders often associated with several endocrine tumors/cancers.
- Hyperparathyroidism: Primary hyperparathyroidism is the result of an abnormality of the parathyroid gland that disrupts the normal balance of calcium by producing too much parathyroid hormone (PTH).
Many endocrine diseases, including cancer, are hereditary. If someone in your family has been diagnosed, you may want to consider genetic testing.
For more information about Levine Cancer Institute, call 980-442-2000.