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Some people who were treated for cancer during childhood may develop endocrine (hormone) problems due to changes in the function in the endocrine system.
The endocrine system is a group of glands that regulate many body functions including growth, puberty, energy level, urine production, and stress response. Glands of the endocrine system include the pituitary, hypothalamus, thyroid, adrenals, pancreas, ovaries (in females), and testes (in males). The hypothalamus and pituitary are sometimes called the “master glands” because they control many of the other glands in the endocrine system. Unfortunately, some treatments given for childhood cancer can damage the endocrine system, resulting in a variety of problems.
Hormones are chemical messengers that carry information from the endocrine glands through the bloodstream to the body’s cells. The endocrine system makes many hormones (such as growth hormone, sex hormones, adrenal and thyroid hormones) that work together to maintain specific bodily functions.