When confronted with cancer, you need a team of experienced and skilled specialists equipped with the latest diagnostic and treatment options, as well as access to promising therapies through clinical research trials. Rush offers collaborative, comprehensive, quality care for cancerous and noncancerous tumors of the endocrine system, including:
The endocrine cancer team at Rush uses state-of-the-art procedures and imaging techniques to diagnose each patient as quickly and accurately as possible. We offer patients the following advanced diagnostic capabilities:
- Computerized tomography (CT) scanning. This technique uses x-rays and computer technology to produce images, or "slices," of different sections of the body, giving physicians an in-depth view of organs.
- Endoscopic ultrasound
- Fine needle aspiration biopsy. This minimally invasive procedure allows physicians to test suspect thyroid nodules and get results within a few days.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This procedure uses a large magnet, a computer and radiofrequencies to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body.
- Nuclear scanning. In this imaging procedure, patients take a tiny amount of a radioactive substance either orally or via injection. The scanning machine can detect detailed information about the particular tissues that attract the substance, enabling physicians to find small tumors or determine whether a treatment is working.
After diagnosis, specialists from a multidisciplinary team — including endocrinologists, an endocrine surgeon, nurses, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists and psychologists — meet to develop an individualized treatment plan for each patient. Rush offers the full range of treatments for endocrine tumors. Depending on your tumor, your treatment may include the following, alone or in combination:
- Surgery. An endocrine surgeon can remove the tumor and all or part of the affected gland.
- Radioactive iodine therapy. Small amounts of radioactive iodine administered in liquid or capsule form can destroy thyroid cancer cells, including those that remain after surgery and those that have spread to other parts of the body.
- Hormone therapy. Administering hormones to certain patients can kill cancer cells, slow the growth of cancer cells or stop cancer cells from growing. This therapy can also replace the natural thyroid hormone after surgery or radioactive iodine therapy.
- Chemotherapy and radiation. These treatments — which involve, respectively, using drugs to treat cancerous cells and sending high levels of radiation directly to cancer cells — play only a limited role in the treatment of endocrine cancers.
An endocrinologist from the team provides each patient with long-term care, including medication dose adjustment and follow-up scans. In cases that require surgery, the endocrine surgeon collaborates with the endocrinologist to provide this follow-up care.
Rehabilitation specialists at Rush offer a complete program of rehabilitative services to help you recover and restore function that may have been affected by your condition or treatment. Our program includes both inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation services.
Cancer Integrative Medicine Program
Through the Cancer Integrative Medicine Program, patients have access to therapies that complement their medical treatments, such as acupuncture, biofeedback, nutritional and herbal counseling, massage and yoga.
A clinical health psychologist is available to help patients manage the emotional and psychological aspects of diagnosis and treatment. The Cancer Integrative Medicine Program also provides counseling for patients and family members so that they can learn coping strategies and improve their quality of life.
In partnership with the American Cancer Society, Rush offers a patient navigator to assess individual patient needs and provide information about available treatments, community services and programs.
As an academic medical center, Rush is dedicated to improving patient care through research and education. Physicians at Rush are also active researchers focused on bringing the latest advances in health care directly to their patients through clinical research trials. For a current list of clinical trial opportunities, visit the cancer clinical trials home page.