Different glands in the body make hormones. Hormones are chemicals that control different things. These include:
- your growth
- when you go through puberty
- being able to get pregnant or make someone pregnant (fertility)
- your metabolism (the way and speed at which your body processes energy)
- your energy levels.
Some cancer treatments may damage certain glands, causing endocrine problems. This depends on the treatment you had, and the area of the body that was treated.
Your doctor or nurse will tell you if your treatment may cause any endocrine problems. They will check for signs of problems at your follow up appointments. They usually do this with blood tests.
If you have any problems, your doctor will refer you to an endocrinologist. This is a doctor who specialises in hormone problems. Most problems can usually be treated easily by replacing the missing (or low) levels with hormone therapy. You may need to take these for the rest of your life. You may have these as tablets, cream, gels or patches. If you need growth hormone, you might have it as an injection. Your endocrinologist will explain the treatment to you.
Problems depend on the glands that are affected and the hormones they make. The ovaries and the testicles also make hormones. We have included information about some glands that may be affected. If you are worried about these problems or have any symptoms, let your doctor or nurse know straight away. Other conditions can cause them, but it’s always important to get them checked.