Endocrine Cancers

Endocrine Cancers

Members of Our Team

Roderick Quiros, MD 
St. Luke's Cancer Care Associates

Darius Desai, MD 
St. Luke's Cancer Care Associates

David Yen, MD 
Bethlehem ENT Associates



Thyroid Cancer

This is a cancer that forms in the thyroid gland (an organ at the base of the throat that makes hormones that help control heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and weight). There are four main types of thyroid cancer - papillary, follicular, medullary and anaplastic thyroid cancer - determined by the appearance of the cancer cells.

Causes, Symptoms and Risk Factors

Age and gender are particular risks for thyroid cancer, which tends to strike women between the ages of 30 and 60. Other risk factors for thyroid cancer include:

  • Radiation exposure
  • A history of enlarged thyroid (goiter)
  • Family history of thyroid cancer
  • Certain genetic conditions or syndromes. For example, medullary thyroid cancer can be caused by a change in a hereditary gene.

There may be no symptoms of thyroid cancer in the disease's early stages. As it progresses, the most common symptom of thyroid cancer is the development of a lump or general swelling in the neck. People with thyroid cancer can also experience:

  • Hoarseness
  • Difficulty when swallowing
  • Breathing trouble

Tests, Procedures & Treatments

A doctor will perform a physical examination, review symptoms with the patient and perform testing for thyroid cancer that can include:

  • Blood tests 
  • CT scan 
  • MRI 
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) scan, during which a low-dose radioactive sugar-based substance is injected into the patient's bloodstream. Cancer cells absorb sugar more rapidly than normal cells and a special camera can detect where the radioactive material has been absorbed by tumors in the pharynx.
  • Laryngoscopy, during which a doctor uses a thin, lighted tube-like instrument with a camera (laryngoscope) to look inside the body for the presence of thyroid cancer and to see if the vocal cords are moving normally.
  • Biopsy

Treatments for thyroid cancer can include:

Adrenal Cancer

The adrenal glands are a pair of organs near the kidneys that produce hormones. The outer part of the adrenal gland is called the cortex. The hormones produced here are the body's natural steroids. The inner part of the adrenal gland, meanwhile, is called the medulla. The role of the medulla is to produce hormones for the body's nervous system. Adrenal gland tumors develop when excess amounts of these hormones are secreted.

Causes, Symptoms and Risk Factors

The causes of adrenal gland cancer are unknown. Some cases are linked to hereditary diseases. Risk factors associated with adrenal cancers are:

  • Genetic syndromes
  • Smoking

Cancer of the adrenal cortex can cause symptoms such as:

  • Weight gain
  • Rise in blood pressure
  • Body changes in men (feminization)
  • Developing facial or body hair (women)

Cancer of the medulla, meanwhile, can be characterized by:

  • Hypertension
  • Anxiety
  • Fever
  • Unexplained weight loss

Tests, Procedures & Treatments

A doctor will perform a physical examination, review symptoms with the patient and perform testing for adrenal cancer that can include:

Treatments for adrenal cancer can include: