Comprehensive Management of Endocrine Disorders in Cancer Patients

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Duke endocrinologists in our endocrine-oncology program specialize in caring for people who receive cancer treatment and have a chronic condition like diabetes or who develop a new disorder during cancer treatment that affects the endocrine system and its ability to produce hormones. We also work with people who experience endocrine-related problems long after cancer treatment has ended. Our team of endocrinologists works closely with your oncologist to create a plan that meets your needs before, during, and in the years following your treatment. This includes in-person and video visits to ensure ongoing, convenient care.

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The Connection Between Endocrine Disorders and Cancer

Cancer treatments like chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiation, and surgery can alter how your body produces or responds to insulin. They can also damage thyroid and adrenal glands, which manage important hormones that help the body function. Keeping these and other endocrine functions in check is an important part of staying healthy. 

Our Locations

We see people at two locations in Durham. Find a clinic near you.

Reasons You May Be Referred to an Endocrinologist

Cancer treatment impacts everyone differently. You may be referred to our experts because of a current condition or changes caused by your cancer treatment.


Diabetes can increase your risk for cancer. It can also complicate your cancer treatment. Working with an endocrinologist will ensure you control your diabetes and complications that may result from your cancer treatment. Because chemotherapy has been associated with developing type 1 and type 2 diabetes, you may also see our providers if you’re at risk of developing diabetes. They will monitor you for symptoms like extreme weight loss, increased heart rate, palpitations, weight gain, thirst, and frequent urination, and will help you learn to manage diabetes if it occurs.

Hormone Imbalances

Cancer and cancer treatment can directly impact the glands that produce hormones. Your body may produce abnormal levels of hormones from your adrenal or thyroid glands, which can impact your body’s ability to respond to stress. These changes can create a range of issues, including changes in your appetite and weight, muscle pains, or changes blood pressure. Whether you suffer from pre-existing conditions or you’re at higher risk of developing them during treatment, our endocrinologists will monitor any changes to help your hormone levels stay balanced.

Growths on the Adrenal, Parathyroid, Pituitary, or Thyroid Glands

In some cases, the glands that create hormones may change in size or form growths (nodules) over the course of treatment. This could be due to the spread of cancer or cancer treatment. Blood tests or tissue samples may be needed to determine whether any changes or growths are cancerous or due to treatment. This will help doctors decide if any new treatments are needed as part of your care.

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Long-Term Impacts of Cancer Treatment

Our endocrinologists will coordinate your care with your oncologist to manage any lasting impacts on your health.

Immunotherapy Side Effects

Immunotherapy uses your immune system to kill cancer cells, but some immunotherapy medications can aggravate a pre-existing autoimmune disease or cause new diseases of the endocrine system. These include pituitary inflammation, autoimmune diabetes, thyroid disease, and others. 

Continuous Steroid Use

Long-term steroid use can cause lasting side effects, such as weight gain, bone loss, bruising easily, and diabetes. Our team of expert endocrinologists can help you manage your steroid regimen to minimize side effects while working with your oncologist to determine appropriate dosing and duration.

Best Cancer Hospital in North Carolina

Where you receive your cancer care is important. Duke University Hospital is proud of our team and the exceptional care they provide. They are why our cancer program is nationally ranked, and the highest-ranked program in North Carolina, according to U.S. News & World Report for 2024–2025.

What to Expect During Your First Appointment

Our team of endocrinologists reviews each referral within two days to determine which tests you may need. During your initial appointment, we’ll discuss your diagnosis and explain how endocrine treatment can impact and work with your cancer treatment. If medication is needed, we coordinate with your oncologist to determine the best approach. You may be evaluated with a combination of in-person and video visits to accommodate your schedule and ability to travel.

This page was medically reviewed on 11/17/2021 by