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Department of Nuclear Medicine and Endocrine Oncology



Daria Handkiewicz-Junak, PhD, MD


telephone: +48 32 278 93 01,+48 278 93 39; fax +48 32 231 35 12


The Department of Nuclear Medicine and Endocrine Oncology comprises a unique, multidisciplinary team of specialists who together determine the diagnosis and choose the best method of personalized treatment.  Apart from endocrinologists, oncologists-radiotherapists, and nuclear medicine specialists, our Tumor Board also includes surgeons (from the Clinic of Oncological and Reconstructive Surgery), pathologists (from the Department of Tumor Pathology), and specialists in clinical oncology (from the 3rd Clinic of Radiotherapy and Chemotherapy).  They all decide when and if at all to perform a surgery or to resort to a  non-surgical treatment, either by implementing radioiodine therapy, radiotherapy or pharmacological treatment of the thyroid cancer and neuroendocrine tumors, such as adrenal cancer. 

Apart from physicians, our team is supported by a group of physicists and technicians (whose primary job comprises proper planning of radioiodine therapy and scans), nurses and other medical personnel specializing in nuclear medicine and endocrinology. 

A group of molecular biologists from the Department of Nuclear Medicine and Endocrine Oncology use the latest methods of genetic and biochemical diagnostics (DNA, RNA, proteins analysis), the results of which provide the basic component for diagnosing and further therapy planning.  Even now, the results of such molecular blood tests help develop a patient risk evaluation to determine the incidence of, say, thyroid or adrenal cancer. Analyzing the tissue material harvested by means of intraoperative molecular methods, we arrive at the diagnosis and develop new methods of treating many types of cancer.

Psychologist-psychotherapists take care of the emotional comfort of our patients; a team of physicians and nurses provide a supervised, holistic approach to the patient health and disease.

The Department of Nuclear Medicine and Endocrine Oncology is the oldest and largest thyroid cancer treatment center in Poland.  Our patients undergo comprehensive treatment, from diagnosis to successful cancer cure, without having to find other specialists who would take them through subsequent phases of the treatment. We handle over 5,000 thyroid cancer patients who undergo several detailed periodical follow-up examinations.  Owing to the practice, over 90% of our patients experience full recovery and return to normal life.  We feel proud of our time-tested experience that we share with our colleagues from other Polish centers while attending a number of nation-wide conferences.  We have jointly prepared some Polish recommendations for the diagnostics and treatment of thyroid cancer, with Professor Barbara Jarząb acting as Editor-in-Chief.  

Our technicians perform a full range of scans using radioactive isotopes which are very helpful in the diagnostics and staging of many advanced cancers, not just thyroid cancers but also breast, prostate, hemopoietic systems, and others.  For some types of cancer, we may suggest systemic radioisotope treatment, when other therapeutic methods fail.

We also take advantage of the diagnostic and therapeutic opportunities we have when treating non-neoplastic diseases.  A majority of our efforts cover the diagnostics and treatment of thyroid diseases, including goiter or hyper- and hypothyroidism.  We take advantage of both endocrinology and nuclear medicine to offer radioiodine treatment which helps avoid a thyroid surgery.  We also combine endocrinology and radiotherapy when ocular complications occur in the course of thyroid diseases.  Having a number of scan options available, we offer assistance with diagnosing some adrenal and pituitary disorders or other diseases of the hormonal system, whenever radiological methods prove insufficient.      

The Department of Nuclear Medicine and Endocrine Oncology is composed of:

  • Clinic of Nuclear Medicine and Endocrine Oncology
  • Outpatient Clinic of Nuclear Medicine and Endocrine Oncology
  • Laboratory of Molecular Diagnostics and Functional Genomics
  • Nuclear Medicine Diagnostic Unit


The Clinic of Nuclear Medicine and Endocrine Oncology caters to all the patients for whom application of diagnostic or therapeutic procedures involving hospitalization is planned.  Some patients must be treated on an in-house basis because of the severity of their condition; however, others must be hospitalized because they are scheduled to undergo radioisotope treatment (involving oral and intravenous administration of radioactive substances), which means they must be isolated to assure their safety and radiological protection. Our Clinic, housed in a historic, prewar building of the old Institute of Oncology, underwent a major renovation in 2001 and now it can offer very comfortable conditions for our patients and, in the case of radioiodine treatment, it guarantees complete radiological safety.  Special technical solutions (including lead walls, supervised sluices, instruments measuring contamination levels) and some latest Roediger sanitary installations guarantee decontamination of the sewer system, a key aspect for both human and environmental protection. Patients treated with radioisotopes are hospitalized in a controlled access separate part of the Clinic.  Other patients are not expected to be subjected to such strict restrictions.  In some cases, the patients may opt to leave the hospital during diagnostic procedures (and stay instead at a nearby hotel facility of the Oncology Center).  All our patients have access to a full range of radiotherapeutic procedures as well as other diagnostic and therapeutic techniques available at the Oncology Center in Gliwice. 


The Outpatient Clinic of Nuclear Medicine and Endocrine Oncology offering outpatient care is open every day.  Endocrinologists and oncologists inform our patients about the use of modern ultrasonography equipment.  In close cooperation with cytologists from the Department of Tumor Pathology, they perform fine-needle biopsies of thyroid nodules which allow for comprehensive diagnostics of malignant and non-malignant lesions of the organ.   A full range of necessary laboratory tests (including endocrinology) completes the exhaustive clinical picture of any benign or malignant endocrine disease.       


The Molecular Diagnostics and Functional Genomics Laboratory performs routine blood DNA tests.  First of all, specialists in molecular biology perform DNA tests based on the PCR method.  By means of sequencing, they may detect germ line mutations and provide a genetic background of the disease not only in the given patient but also in his closest family members.  The method is used for endocrine cancers, especially in the case of medullary thyroid cancer patients.  The patients, in whom DNA tests showed a significant risk of the disease, join a very specific program of control tests or undergo preventive surgery.  The scientists at the Department work on the implementation of a special modern method of simultaneous analysis of several tens of thousands of genes in a single tumor tissue sample taken from the patient.  In the future, the method will allow for very precise customization of the treatment methods for individual patients.  The method is currently being tested for cancers of the thyroid, breast, ovary, prostate, larynx, pancreas, stomach, brain tumors, lymphomas, and leukemia.  

Our Department is equipped with modern cameras using single photon emission computed tomography (gamma-camera SPECT/CT).  We use gamma-cameras for thyroid and full body scans.  We work closely with the Department of PET Diagnostics (which in 2011 split from the Department of Nuclear Medicine and Endocrine Oncology) which performs Positron Emission Tomography - Computed Tomography scans (PET/CT).