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UCLA physicians gave talks at the recent California American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) 16th Annual Meeting.
UCLA endocrinologists are very active in the California AACE organization:
Dr. Jane Weinreb is the Treasurer
Dr. Dianne Cheung is the Secretary
Dr. Jennifer Han is a Board Member
Dr. Michael Yeh discussed several challenging cases of high calcium and parathyroid disorders.
He explained that hyperparathyroidism is one of the most common causes of high calcium. This can easily be confirmed in most cases by a panel of blood tests, and in appropriate cases treated surgically with remove of the abnormal parathyroid gland(s).
However, some cases can be very complex to diagnose and treat. These include hyperparathyroidism in pregnancy, which can pose significant risks for the mother and the baby.
Surgery can usually be performed during pregnancy (ideally during the second trimester).
Dr. Angela Leung explained that the incidence of thyroid cancer has been rising over the past few decades.
Reassuringly, only about 5-10% of thyroid nodules are cancerous. The decision to biopsy thyroid nodules depends on the blood TSH test result, the size of the nodule, and characteristics of the nodule as seen on a thyroid ultrasound.
For biopsy results that are indeterminate (i.e. the likelihood of cancer is unclear), molecular marker testing may offer additional information.
Before surgery, a thyroid ultrasound should be done to include the presence of any suspicious lymph nodes to help guide the extent of thyroid surgery that would be recommended.
Finally, the 2015 American Thyroid Association guidelines for the management of thyroid cancer also suggest different ways to predict the associated health risks of having a thyroid cancer.