Endocrine Cancer Program
Commitment to research and patient care
|The physicians and other experts in the Endocrine Cancer Program at Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin are dedicated to deepening our understanding of thyroid cancer and other endocrine malignancies. Through research, clinical trials and a commitment to patient care, they are helping to develop better therapies and more effective surgical techniques.
To make an appointment
or for more information, call 866-680-0505
or use our online form
|Cancers of the endocrine system include many diseases that are very treatable as well as some that are difficult to cure. The common denominator for all endocrine tumors is the importance of working with a team of physicians who offer a high degree of specialization.
The Clinical Cancer Center's hub model
builds the entire care experience around patients. Dedicated program coordinators answer questions, address concerns, coordinate treatment and help you along in your journey.
The physicians in the Endocrine Cancer Program concentrate on treating thyroid cancer and other endocrine tumors. They care for and provide follow-up for a large number of these patients every year. The team's extensive experience and in-depth knowledge ensures that every patient has access to the most effective treatment options, including clinical trials.
The entire Endocrine Cancer Program team is dedicated to improving patient care. Learn more about our exceptional staff.
Facts About Endocrine CancerSeveral cancers, cancer-related syndromes and hyperparathyroidism are treated within the Endocrine Cancer Program:
- 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 approximately 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 or other 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 orginate 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 that are 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).
Treatment for Endocrine Cancers
|The primary treatment for thyroid cancer is surgical removal. The thyroid gland has two lobes. If a patient is known to have thyroid cancer before surgery, the entire gland and possibly surrounding lymph nodes are removed. If a patient has a thyroid nodule affecting just one lobe that is not known to be a cancer prior to surgery, only half of the gland normally needs to be removed at the time of the initial surgery.
- For cases that involve the removal of only one lobe of the thyroid gland for a nodule(s) presumed benign, a pathologist evaluates the resected tissue while the patient is still in the operating room. If the nodule(s) are judged to be malignant, the surgeon may then remove the entire thyroid gland at the time of the initial surgery.
- A few weeks after surgery, patients who did have cancer will receive a single oral dose of radioactive iodine to destroy any microscopic thyroid cells that may remain.
- Patients who have had their entire thyroid removed (and some who have had a partial removal) need to take thyroid hormone supplements for the rest of their lives.
The standard treatment for adrenal cancer and neuroendocrine tumors is surgical removal of the cancerous tissue. Some neuroendocrine cancers, especially those that occur in the liver, can be treated using chemoembolization, a minimally invasive interventional radiology technique.
Overnight Pathology for Thyroid PatientsWhile a pathologist routinely performs an initial thyroid tissue evaluation during surgery for all nodules that are not known to be cancerous, a more comprehensive analysis is still necessary to produce a final pathology report. In rare cases, if the final report shows cancer in tissue that was initially thought to be cancer-free, the patient may need another operation to remove the entire thyroid gland.
In most hospitals, the final pathology report is produced several days after the initial thyroid surgery. Therefore, if a patient needs a second operation to remove the remaining thyroid gland, he or she must be readmitted to the hospital. The pathologists in the Endocrine Cancer Program at Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin have committed to providing the final pathology for thyroid patients in less than 24 hours. That way, if a patient needs an additional surgery, it may be done during the same hospital stay, typically the day after the initial surgery.
Clinical TrialsThe Endocrine Cancer Program team is actively involved in clinical research to develop improved treatments for thyroid cancer and other diseases.
Learn more about the clinical trials currently in progress for patients with endocrine disorders at Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin.
Academic PublicationsAs part of the academic medical center that is Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin, the exceptional physicians of the Endocrine Cancer Program are involved in teaching and research, publishing and presenting often. A collection of some of these articles can be found in our Academic Publications section.
Contact UsTo learn more about the Endocrine Cancer Program or make an appointment, please contact us online or call 414-805-0505 (toll-free 866-680-0505).
Last Review Date: May 19, 2010
Online Editor(s): Kathryn Adam