Endocrine brain tumors are cancers of the tiny pituitary or pineal glands. Thyroid cancer is the most common endocrine cancer, but these less common associated brain tumors are also very serious.
After reviewing your child’s medical history, we will conduct a careful physical exam. In most cases, we will need to run blood tests to measure the levels of hormones in your child’s blood. In the case of suspicious endocrine-related growths in the brain, our team may also need to perform an ultrasound, CT scan or MRI so we can see where the growth is located and if it has spread anywhere else.
Once we discover the location of a growth, we will biopsy or remove a small piece of it to study under a microscope. If we find that the cells are cancerous, we will determine how serious the cancer is by giving it a stage and grade. Once we know how advanced the endocrine tumor is, our specialists can begin to form a plan. This usually means radiation or chemotherapy and/or surgery.
Some cancers are best handled with life-saving bone marrow transplant (BMT). However, BMT may disrupt your child’s endocrine system if there a high amount of irradiation necessary before the procedure is performed. Particular hormonal disruptions seem to be related to growth and sexual development.
Though recent research suggests that BMT does not tend to cause endocrine problems as once thought, we use blood tests to determine hormone levels and then appropriate medicinal treatment will be started to counteract any imbalances we uncover.
Type 1 and type 2 diabetes can mean the beginning of a lifelong challenge for your child. The award-winning Max McGee National Research Center for Juvenile Diabetes [link to this] is housed in the same location as the endocrine program and shares many of the same team members.
Our thorough diabetes testing includes blood tests that examine both random, fasting, and average (A1C) blood levels. We also test blood and urine for the presence of ketones, which are fatty byproducts left behind when your child doesn’t produce enough insulin, suggesting type 1 diabetes.
Finally, to determine whether your child has type 1 or type 2 diabetes, we check your child’s blood for autoantibodies that are commonly found in type 1.
The cluster of endocrine and metabolic disorders – collectively known as dysmetabolic syndrome – include: obesity, high blood pressure, impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), hypertension, fatty blood (dyslipidaemia) and impaired fibrinolysis leading to blood clots. Dysmetabolic syndrome is also known as "syndrome X," the "insulin resistance syndrome," and the "metabolic syndrome."
Tests for these conditions may involve other programs outside of endocrine. Our endocrinologists primarily use blood tests to determine the level of lipids (fats) in your child’s blood. Depending on the cause and your child’s overall health, medicine and lifestyle changes like exercise and diet may be recommended.
About lipids tests at Children’s
Lipids problems may be separate or related to dysmetabolism. It is important to determine whether fatty blood is symptomatic of a larger issue or is the extent of the problem. Our endocrinologists will primarily use blood tests to determine the level of lipids (fats) in your child’s blood. Depending on the cause and your child’s overall health, medicine and lifestyle changes like exercise and diet may be recommended.
About polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) tests at Children’s
It’s crucial that we identify PCOS early because it may lead to infertility in your daughter. We look at family history, your child’s skin, weight, and menstrual history. We also perform blood tests for hormone levels—particularly looking for hyperandrogenism (too much of the male sex hormone, androgen), which is a hallmark of the disease. Ultrasounds and other scans are then ordered to see if there are a build-up of cysts in the ovaries. Based on yours or your child’s condition we’ll determine with you the best course of treatment, which may include medicinal trials and surgery to remove cysts.
Read more about PCOS >>