Endocrine Cancer Programs
Thyroid surgery, though generally not life-threatening, can be associated with complications, including injury to the vocal cords or parathyroid glands, which control calcium metabolism. Research confirms that the most important factor for both avoiding complications and enhancing favorable clinical outcomes from the treatment of thyroid disease is the experience of the surgeon.
The Endocrine Cancers Program offers evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of tumors of the thyroid, parathyroid, adrenal glands, pituitary gland, hypothalamus and pancreas. Thyroid cancer is the most common endocrine malignancy.
Thyroid cancer begins as a tumor that develops in the thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland at the base of the throat. The thyroid produces hormones that help the body work normally. Thyroid nodules are common, and while more than 95 percent of thyroid tumors are not cancerous there is a tremendous advantage to being evaluated and treated by experts in endocrine diseases. The preferred method for our physicians to evaluate a nodule is through a fine-needle aspiration biopsy. This procedure may be performed during a clinic visit. When cancer is suspected to be in a nodule, surgery is recommended.
Thyroid cancer can be divided into the well-differentiated types (papillary and follicular), medullary thyroid cancer and anaplastic thyroid cancer. The most common are the well-differentiated forms, which generally have an excellent prognosis. Typically, they are treated with a combination of surgery, radioactive iodine, and thyroid suppression. The less common types of thyroid cancer can be very aggressive. Specialized surgical expertise in the thyroid is essential for management of all these patients. Some thyroid cancers can be inherited. The RET proto-oncogene is a gene which causes medullary thyroid cancer when it contains certain mutations. Our program can arrange for a patient to be screened for the presence of this mutated gene by Yale Cancer Center's Genetic Counseling Service.
Why Smilow Cancer Hospital for Endocrine Cancers
Yale New Haven has one of the largest multidisciplinary endocrine cancer teams in the United States — including surgeons, endocrinologists, medical oncologists, pathologists, radiation oncologists and cytopathologists — who handle about 1,000 cases a year.
Learn more about Endocrine Surgery services at Yale New Haven Hospital
Learn more about Endocrine Surgery program at Yale Cancer Center