Multiple endocrine neoplasia: Treatment, symptoms, advice and help
About multiple endocrine neoplasia
Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia (MEN) is also called “Multiple Endocrine Adenoma” or Multiple Endocrine Adenomatosis”. This condition is characterised by presence of two or more types of glandular tumour in an individual patient with history of genetic mutation or hereditary transmission. They are mainly of two types MEN type 1 (Werner Syndrome) and MEN type 2 (Sipple syndrome). They can either be benign or cancerous in nature.
Multiple endocrine neoplasia: Incidence, age and sex
The preponderance of Multiple endocrine neoplasia (MEN) is equal in men and women. It occurs in 1 out of every 30,000 individuals, worldwide. It does not show affinity towards any race or geographical region. It usually begins in younger age groups, before progressing during middle-age.
Signs and symptoms of multiple endocrine neoplasia: Diagnosis
The ‘MEN type 1’ involves mainly the edncocrine glands, namely the pancreas, pituitary and parathyroid glands. The clinical signs and symptoms depend upon the glands which may be having tumour cells. The affected individual may complain of fatigue, headache, loss of muscle co-ordination, loss of body/facial hair, vision problems or unexplained weight loss. Gastro-intestinal feature include abdominal pain, black-tarry stools, bloating sensation, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting or acidity. Laboratory tests may reveal elevated levels of serum calcium and blood sugar.
In ‘MEN type 2’, involvement of the thyroid (thyroid cancer) and adrenal glands (pheochromocytoma) is seen. The clinical features are variable and may include musculoskeletal or gastro-intestinal symptoms. Affected individuals may exhibit rapid heart rate and breathing rate along with abnormally high blood pressure.
The diagnosis of ‘Multiple endocrine neoplasia’ is established by genetic screening, CT scan or MRI scan. Laboratory diagnosis of various blood constituents and detailed physical examination may be helpful in diagnosing the condition.
Causes and prevention of multiple endocrine neoplasia
The cause of multiple endocrine neoplasia is thought to be genetic mutations or hereditary transmissions. Screening of individuals with a family history of MEN may help in early detection and hence effective management.
Multiple endocrine neoplasia: Complications
‘Multiple endocrine neoplasia’ (MEN) affects many hormone producing glands. This may disrupt the hormonal balance in the body resulting in various health concerns. Moreover, thyroid and adrenal cancers have a high propensity to spread to the other parts of body, thus further deteriorating the condition.
Multiple endocrine neoplasia: Treatment
‘Multiple endocrine neoplasia’ (MEN) is a lifelong disease. Symptomatic treatment can be started initially to make the individual comfortable. However, surgery remains the mainstay of treatment in order to remove the tumour growth in the affected glands. The main goal of treatment is to prolong life span, relieve symptoms and improve the quality of life.