Endocrine Cancer Mission Cancer brings together a multidisciplinary team of specialists who provide comprehensive diagnosis, treatment and management for endocrine cancer. Our endocrine cancer patients are able to visit a number of specialists in one location, receiving comprehensive and convenient care. Our team of specialists include: Fellowship-trained endocrine surgeons Medical oncologists Radiation oncologists Diagnostic radiologists Pathologists Genetic counselors Palliative care What Is Endocrine Cancer? Endocrine cancer is caused by the abnormal growth of cells in the endocrine system, a network of glands that produce hormones and send them around the body through the blood. There are several different glands that comprise the endocrine system, and each control different body functions, including metabolism, mood, growth and reproduction. While most tumors are benign, some may become cancerous and can spread to other parts of the body. Adrenal glands - two adrenal glands produce hormones that regulate metabolism (cortisol), adrenaline, heart rate, blood pressure and certain sexual characteristics (androgens). Parathyroid glands - four pea-sized glands located in the neck near the thyroid secrete parathyroid hormone (PTH), which regulates calcium levels throughout the body. Thyroid gland - a butterfly-shaped organ in the lower neck, it makes two hormones that are secreted into the blood and are necessary for all the cells in your body to work normally: thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). Types of Endocrine Cancer Thyroid cancer - the most common type of endocrine cancer is thyroid cancer, which affects the butterfly-shaped gland in the front of your neck. Adrenal cancer or adrenocortical cancers - rare cancers that affect the adrenal glands, which are located above the kidneys. The adrenal glands produce important hormones that help control blood pressure, reaction to stress and breakdown of fats to make sugars in the liver. Parathyroid cancer - a rare condition that can affect the small pea-sized glands in the neck, which make a hormone that helps the body use calcium. Endocrine Cancer Diagnosis You will first meet with your physician-led oncology team, who will conduct a physical and review your symptoms, medical history and family history to determine if additional tests are needed. Lab tests may be used to check for abnormal hormone levels in the blood or urine, and your doctor may conduct imaging studies such as MRI, CT and ultrasound to look for abnormal tissue in the gland. You may have a biopsy, which is a procedure in which a small sample of tissue is extracted to determine if it is cancerous. If it is determined that you have cancer, a staging work-up will be completed in order to best direct treatment. Endocrine Cancer Treatment Endocrine cancer treatment is guided by the stage and grade of the cancer. Treatment continues to evolve more rapidly than ever, emphasizing the need for a commitment to a disease-focused approach. That’s why we deliver a multidisciplinary approach to treatment, bringing together surgical, medical and radiation oncologists with specialized expertise in treating endocrine cancers, all in one location. Whether you need single, dual or a combination of all three therapies, you can be confident that you are receiving the highest level of care. Surgery Depending on the diagnosis, surgery may be recommended to remove the tumor, part of the gland or entire gland. At Mission, we partner with western North Carolina’s only fellowship-trained endocrine surgeon, ensuring you have access to the most advanced techniques and up-to-date treatment modalities. We offer the latest minimally invasive surgical procedures, which may allow for smaller incisions, less pain, faster recovery times and shorter hospital stays. Click here to learn about our endocrine surgery services Learn more about our surgeon Radiation Therapy Radiation therapy is a treatment that uses X-rays to destroy cancer cells and shrink tumors. At Mission, our therapists specialize by tumor type. They use the latest technologies and treatments, including the CyberKnife Robotic radiosurgery system, and coordinate care with your surgeon, medical oncologist, navigator and primary care physician to ensure precise and accurate treatment. Learn more about radiation oncology. Chemotherapy Chemotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses drugs to destroy cancer cells, and may be used in combination with radiation therapy and other treatments. At Mission, our medical oncologists are experts in the tumor-specific disease processes, treatments and research options. Learn more about medical oncology Find a medical oncologist Support and Survivorship We understand a cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming. That’s why we offer comprehensive support services to ensure we meet the educational, nutritional, spiritual and psychological needs of our patients. We provide access to a variety of services, including support groups, clinical social workers, physical and speech therapy, and others to provide support during cancer treatment. Click here to browse our support services.