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BACKGROUND INFORMATION

icon What is the endocrine system?

The endocrine system consists of a set of glands, such as the thyroid, gonads, adrenal and pituitary glands, and the hormones they produce, such as thyroxine, oestrogen, testosterone and adrenaline, which help guide the development, growth, reproduction, and behaviour of animals, including human beings (see Pathophysiology of the endocrine system).

Overview image of the human endocrine system.

Overview image of the human endocrine system. Image source

Hormones are signalling molecules which travel through the bloodstream and elicit responses in other parts of the body (from Prostate Cancer Glossary). An endocrine system is found in most animals, including mammals, non-mammalian vertebrates (such as birds, fish, amphibians, and reptiles), and invertebrates (such as snails and insects).

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