Q:

Why might I need to see an endocrinologist?

A:

People with thyroid issues including thyroid cancer typically turn to endocrinologists to treat their conditions. An endocrinologist diagnoses and treats problems related to hormones or other aspects of the endocrine system, so people with conditions such as thyroid cancer, Graves' disease, thyroid nodules or goiters often need to find an endocrinologist that understands their particular situation.

Endocrinologists treat a range of conditions including cholesterol problems, some cancers, diabetes, high blood pressure, infertility, insufficient or excessive hormone production, menopause, metabolic disorders, osteoporosis, short stature and thyroid diseases. Not all endocrinologists specialize in every area of endocrinology, so patients must find the right doctor to treat each specific condition. For instance, although more endocrinologists specialize in treating diabetes than any other disease, an endocrinologist who specializes in diabetes may not be the best qualified to work with thyroid cancer patients. According to patient advocate and thyroid patient Mary Shomon, because conditions like thyroid cancer are rare, many endocrinologists have never diagnosed or treated the condition. A subset of traditional endocrinologists focuses primarily on thyroid issues, treating only the most "acute" thyroid issues like goiter, Graves' disease, hyperthyroidism, thyroid cancer, thyroid storm and nodules; these endocrinologists often refer to themselves as "thyroidologists," and are often the best choice for patients with thyroid concerns.


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