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Childhood Endocrine Tumors

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Our Approach

The Children’s Cancer Hospital at MD Anderson has one of the few pediatric endocrinology practices in the nation that specifically focuses on the diagnosis, evaluation and multidisciplinary treatment of children with endocrine tumors. Our specialists also treat genetic syndromes that affect the endocrine system, such as multiple endocrine neoplasias and von Hippel Lindau disease.

If your child has been diagnosed with an endocrine tumor, we’re here to help. Call 1-877-632-6789 to make an appointment or request an appointment online.

Childhood Endocrine Tumor Facts

Endocrine tumors arise in the glands of the endocrine system, which includes the thyroid, adrenal, pituitary and parathyroid glands. These glands produce various hormones that are essential for the body’s growth, metabolism and sexual development. Tumors arising from the endocrine system can be benign or malignant. Cancerous endocrine tumors are very rare in children, with thyroid cancers being the most common.

Childhood Endocrine Tumor Types

Endocrine tumors and cancers affect the following glands:

Thyroid: a butterfly-shaped gland in the neck that produces hormones involved in metabolism. Thyroid cancer is a rare disease in children under the age of 10 and is more common in adolescents ages 15 to 19. Fortunately, the prognosis is excellent for most cases of pediatric thyroid cancer, even if there is metastatic disease at diagnosis.

Pediatric thyroid tumors include benign thyroid nodules, papillary thyroid cancer, follicular thyroid cancer and medullary thyroid cancer.

Pituitary: a gland at the base of the brain which regulates growth, reproduction and other metabolic functions. Pituitary tumors are usually benign and can be either non-functioning or secrete too much hormone, which, for example, can cause gigantism or Cushing's disease.

Parathyroid: four tiny glands in the neck that produce hormones to regulate calcium and phosphorus levels in the blood. Tumors on these glands can cause overproduction of hormones (hyperparathyroidism).

Adrenal: two glands that sit atop the kidneys and produce hormones that control blood pressure and other functions. Adrenal tumors include adrenocortical tumors and pheochromocytoma.

Multiple Endocrine Neoplasias (MEN) are inherited conditions that can cause tumors of multiple glands.

von Hippel Lindau Syndrome (VHL) is a genetic condition that can cause blood vessel tumors of the central nervous system, kidney tumors, pancreas and kidney cysts and pheochromocytoma.

If your child has been diagnosed with an endocrine tumor, we’re here to help. Call 1-877-632-6789 to make an appointment or request an appointment online.

Why Choose MD Anderson?

  • The Children’s Cancer Hospital is within one of the top-ranked cancer centers in America
  • Access to novel therapies and state-of-the-art technologies before most children’s hospitals
  • We see more types of cancer than any other children’s hospital in Texas
  • Family-centered care that actively involves parents in their child’s treatment
  • A strong cancer research program focused on developing new therapies for pediatric patients
  • Comprehensive support services such as an accredited school program, creative arts, child life and career counseling
  • An Adolescent and Young Adult Program that specializes in the unique medical and psychological needs of patients aged 15-25

Childhood Endocrine Tumor Knowledge Center

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Treatment at MD Anderson

Childhood endocrine tumors are treated in our: 

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