Important information

A person with a suspected endocrine cancer should be referred to an endocrinologist who is a member of a relevant multidisciplinary team.

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


What is endocrine cancer?

Endocrine cancer is cancer that starts in any part of the endocrine tissue or glands, which produce hormones.Graphic of a human body highlighting the endocrine glands

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.


What tests are needed?

Common tests used to diagnose endocrine cancer include:

  • 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 options are there?

Treatment for endocrine cancer may include one or more of the following:

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

If treatment is specialised and complex, patients may need to travel to have a part of their treatment. The local health district will have an arrangement in place for this.


How common are thyroid and other endocrine cancers in NSW?

Thyroid and other endocrine cancers were diagnosed in:

  • 2015
    1209 people in NSW
  • 2014
    1227 people in NSW
  • 2013
    1150 people in NSW
Data source: Cancer statistics NSW portal (sourced from Institute Data Warehouse, Cancer Institute NSW. Available at:


Last updated: 22 February 2019