What Are Endocrine Cancers?

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Endocrine cancers is a broad term to describe cancers that develop in the endocrine system. The endocrine system produces many hormones that control homeostasis (balance) in the functioning of daily life. Some endocrine glands include the thyroid, pituitary, ovaries, testes, pancreas, adrenals, and the heart. There are many more smaller glands that produce hormones that control how our bodies function. Endocrine cancers include:
  • Thyroid cancer
  • Parathyroid cancer
  • Islet cell tumor of the pancreas
  • Carcinoid tumor of the gastrointestinal tract
  • Adrenocortical carcinoma
  • Pituitary tumor
When cancer develops within the endocrine system, surgical removal may sometimes be curative. There are syndromes that can develop when cancer is discovered in multiple endocrine glands. These are called Multiple Endocrine Neoplasias (MEN I, II). Most endocrine neoplasms can be detected as a result of changes in the appearance of your body and blood work. In some cases, a CT scan may be able to show the presence of these cancers.