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Cancer of the Small Intestine (cont.)

What are small intestine cancer symptoms?

  • Like most GI cancers, early symptoms of small bowel cancer tend to be vague and nonspecific. They may include abdominal discomfort associated with the following:
  • The following symptoms may indicate advanced disease and should be signs to seek medical attention:
    • Fatigue
    • Weight loss
    • Iron deficiency anemia
    • Visible blood loss:Blood or a material that looks like coffee grounds may be vomited, or black stools may be passed.
    • Severe nausea and vomiting because of a blockage inthe small bowel by the enlarging cancer: Doctors frequently diagnose small intestine cancer during surgery for unexplained bowel obstruction.
    • Jaundice (yellowish skin): This is a symptom in people with cancerthat involvesthe upper small intestine because of blockage of the bile ducts, which drain the liver, where they enter the small intestine.

How is small intestine cancer diagnosed?

  • In almost all cases, doctors first choose to perform a barium contrast study ofthe small intestine.
  • Upper GI tract endoscopy may be useful in detecting areas of concern in the immediate upper GI tract.
  • A CT scan of the abdomen or an abdominal ultrasound may help to visualize bulky tumors and to rule out any spread of the cancer to adjacent lymph nodes and distant organs such as the liver.
  • Colonoscopy may help diagnose tumors involving the lower areas of the small bowel.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/3/2016
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