Hormones & Glands
The chemo and radio will effect her hormones. For those ladies out there complaining about “thin hair and/or nails breaking” Read on! Lol
Hormones are chemical messengers that travel in the blood and are produced naturally by the body in places called glands. They are essential to help you grow, regulate metabolism, control puberty, fertility, and many others. Some hormones are vital for life, such as stress and thirst/water balance hormones. Others are important for well being and quality of life such as growth. They work by sending specific messages to organs and parts of your body, in a type of “postal messaging” system called the endocrine system. The main place, where these chemicals are produced in a part of the brain is called the pituitary gland. Right above the pituitary gland is another important area in the centre brain called the hypothalamus. This controls sleep/wake, thirst, hunger, body temperature, and and and. The hypothalamus sends messages to the pituitary glands through special “releasing” hormones “. These tell the pituitary to send it’s own hormones to other parts and glands of the body. ALL of these will be effected.
1. The growth hormone (GH).
She will stop growing as bones receive GH to grow and it will stop receiving GH.
2. Thyroid hormones (T4 and TSH).
Gaining weight, feeling tired all the time, feeling cold when others don’t, thinning hair and weakened nails.
3. Puberty and fertility (LH and FSH).
Late start in puberty (very occasional early) and fertility complications.
4. Stress hormone (ACTH) is vital for day to day functioning.
5. Prolactin is needed for producing milk.
6. Antidiurectic hormone (ADH) is important for kidney and liver function. It is an important life saving hormone. It balances water in your body. Unable to produce the ADH hormone is called diabetes insipidus.
7. Oxytocin – which is important in the womb to cause placental separation at childbirth.
So it is to mention a few and I don’t want you to fall asleep! You might ask how do they “kick start” the hormones again… There is no “one off” treatment and it is all sorted for life. She will wear a “medic alert bracelet” for life.
To replace the GH (growth) she will receive it on a daily basis after treatment in the form of a “pen injector”, almost like the one used for diabetics. We as parents will be responsible for giving it to Chiane until she is 16 years of age. After that she will have the option of doing it herself or us continuing to give it to her until she is 19 years.
The Thyriod hormones (T4 & TSH) will be given in a form of a small tablet called ” Thyroxine” for life.
Puberty and fertility hormones will be given until such time that she doesn’t want children anymore. These will be given and controlled by a medical centre that she will need to visit on a weekly basis.
Stress hormones (ACTH) is a tricky one and we as parents will be taught how to inject her with cortisol until she is 18 and able to do it herself.
Antidiurectic hormones (ADH) will be replaced by either a nasal spray or a tablet called DDAVP (desmopressin) for life.
This is yet to mention a few.
She will visit a hospital’s endocrine clinic for life for check ups and to establish what shortages she has and then to receive hormone replace treatments. The life as we know it is not there anymore and this will affect her for the rest of her life…
To receive chemo and radio therapy in that particular part of the brain, with the specific chemo that she receives, will affect the above hormones and glands. A lot of other cancers in the body are treated with different chemo’s and of course radio therapy are used in those sections only, therefore those types of cancer are not being affected as greatly as her treatment plan. The life as she knew it is gone forever.
This is one of the many challenges the medical field is facing. Not only do they struggle with the histology, prognosis and treatment, but also a treatment for sPNET that has a low success rate, but can guarantee a quality life. There are treatment plans with a higher success rate for sPNET, but the quality life is non existent.