Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia (MEN): Types, Symptoms, Treatments & More

Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia (MEN): Types, Symptoms, Treatments & More

Julie Scott, DNP
Julie Scott, DNP
Multiple endocrine neoplasia (MEN) | cancerGO

What is Multiple endocrine neoplasia (MEN)

Multiple endocrine neoplasia (MEN) Is a group of inherited disorders that affect the endocrine glands, which are the glands that produce hormones. There are several types of MEN, but the most common are MEN type 1 and MEN type 2.

MEN type 1 is caused by a mutation in the MEN1 gene. This disease affects the parathyroid, pancreas, and pituitary glands.

Symptoms

Symptoms of MEN type 1 include hyperparathyroidism (overactive parathyroid glands), pancreatic tumors, and pituitary tumors. These tumors can cause symptoms such as:

  • Kidney stones
  • Bone thinning
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • High blood pressure
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Bone pain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Unintentional weight loss

MEN type 2 is caused by a mutation in the RET gene. This disorder affects the parathyroid, thyroid, and adrenal glands. Symptoms of MEN type 2 include hyperparathyroidism, medullary thyroid cancer, and pheochromocytoma (tumors of the adrenal gland). These tumors can cause symptoms such as:

  • Lumps in the neck
  • Trouble breathing
  • Hoarse voice
  • Constipation
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Headaches
  • Sweating
  • High blood pressure

Other types of MEN include MEN type 3, which affects the pituitary, parathyroid, and enteropancreatic endocrine cells, and MEN type 4, which affects the thyroid and parathyroid glands.

Diagnosis

MEN is typically made through a combination of genetic testing, imaging tests, and hormone level tests.

Blood tests may be needed to check for the level of calcium and hormones in the blood. Urine tests may be needed to also look for hormone levels.

Imaging tests such as CT or MRI can look for the presence of any tumors or other abnormalities.

Treatment for MEN depends on the type and severity of the disorder, as well as the symptoms that are present. Treatment options include surgery to remove tumors, radiation therapy, and hormone replacement therapy.

MEN1 is a genetic disorder passed down in families. While there is no cure, treatments are available to manage the symptoms and prevent complications. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with MEN1, talk to your doctor about the best treatment options. People with this condition can lead long and healthy lives with proper care and management.

Julie Scott, DNP
Julie Scott, DNP
Julie is an oncology certified Oncology Nurse Practitioner with over a decade of medical oncology experience. In addition to her clinical work, she is an accomplished healthcare writer providing oncology content for various publications. She also serves as an adjunct faculty member for a Master's nursing program and a chair for Doctoral nursing students.

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