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Cancer of the Small Intestine (Adenocarcinoma)

Cancer of the Small Intestine Introduction

The small intestine, or small bowel, lies between the stomach and the colon. The small intestine is about 6 m (20 ft) long. Its primary function is to digest and absorb nutrients. The small intestine makes up more than 70% of the length and 90% of the surface area of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

The most common cancerous (malignant) tumors of the small bowel include adenocarcinoma, lymphoma, sarcoma, and carcinoids.

  • In industrialized countries, adenocarcinomas occur most often.


  • In developing countries, lymphomas are much more common.


  • All these tumors have the potential to invade the bowel wall, spread into adjoining lymph nodes, and move to distant organs (metastasize).

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Malignant Neoplasms of the Small Intestine »

Malignant neoplasms of the small bowel are among the rarest types of cancer, accounting for only 2% of all GI cancers.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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