What you need to know

It is recommended that you:

  • See an endocrinologist who is a member of a multidisciplinary team. You can ask your GP to refer you.
  • All specialists listed on Canrefer are members of a multidisciplinary team.

What is endocrine cancer?

Endocrine cancer is cancer that occurs in any part of the endocrine tissue or glands, affecting the parts of the body that secrete hormones. There are several types of endocrine cancers (tumours):

  • Adrenal gland tumour
  • Carcinoid tumours
  • Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours (PNETs) or islet cell tumours
  • Parathyroid tumour
  • Pituitary gland tumour
  • Thyroid cancer
Graphic of a human body highlighting the endocrine glands

Who do I see for diagnosis and treatment of my endocrine cancer?

If your GP suspects you have endocrine cancer, they will refer you to an endocrinologist.

The endocrinologist should:

  • Have experience in your type of endocrine cancer
  • Be an active member of a multidisciplinary team.

All the specialists listed on Canrefer are members of a multidisciplinary team.

Why are multidisciplinary teams important?

A multidisciplinary team is a team of doctors, nurses and other health professionals. Team members meet regularly to discuss their patients. They plan treatment for new cancer patients and review treatment for existing patients.

Multidisciplinary teams are important. Team members work together to decide the best treatments for patients.

You can ask your GP to refer you to a specialist who is part of a multidisciplinary team. Talk to your GP about this.

All specialists on Canrefer are members of a multidisciplinary team.

What tests do I need?

You may have some of the tests listed below to diagnose endocrine cancer. The most common tests are:

  • Physical examination
  • Blood tests 
  • Imaging - ultrasound, CT scan, PET scan and/or MRI scan
  • Endoscopic ultrasound (for PNETs)
  • A radioisotope scan (for diagnosis of thyroid cancer)
  • Biopsy

What treatment will I have?

Treatment for endocrine cancer may include one or all types of these cancer treatments:

  • surgery
  • chemotherapy
  • targeted therapy
  • hormone therapy
  • immunotherapy
  • other drug therapy
  • radiotherapy
  • radioactive iodine (thyroid cancer)
  • radiofrequency ablation (carcinoid tumours)
  • hepatic artery embolisation (carcinoid tumours)

Where will I have treatment?

If treatment for your endocrine cancer is specialised and complex, you may need to travel to have a part of your treatment. Your Local Health District will have an arrangement in place for this.

You may be able to have parts of your treatment closer to home. Please discuss this with your treating specialist.

Travel assistance for rural patients

If you live in a rural area and need help to travel for your treatment visit NSW Government IPTAAS for more information.

How common are thyroid and other endocrine cancers in NSW?

Thyroid and other endocrine cancers were diagnosed in:

  • 1015
    People in NSW in 2012
  • 1030
    People in NSW in 2011
  • 913
    People in NSW in 2010

Data Source: Annual NSW cancer incidence and mortality dataset, 2012 (sourced from the NSW Cancer Registry)

Cancer information and support

Speak to a specialist health professional about anything to do with cancer.

Phone 13 11 20.

Cancer Council NSW
Questions for your specialist

Find out some key questions to ask your specialist at your first appointment.

Questions you can ask
Booklet about pancreatic cancer

Understanding Pancreatic Cancer is a booklet for people with cancer, their families and friends. 

Cancer Council NSW
Booklet about thyroid cancer

Understanding Thyroid Cancer is a booklet for people with cancer, their families and friends. 

Cancer Council NSW