Font Size

Cancer of the Small Intestine (cont.)

What is the small intestine cancer prognosis?

The survival for resectable small bowel adenocarcinoma is only 20%.

  • A majority of people who have adenocarcinoma of the small bowel live past 5 years.
  • The survival chances are better if the cancer is limited to the inner walls of the small intestine and the lymph nodes are not involved.
  • The chance of recovery is better still in people who have a carcinoid tumor which is a slower growing form of cancer. The survival rate for resectable sarcoma of the smooth muscle of the small intestine called leiomyosarcoma is 50%.
  • Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma of the small bowel tends to respond better to chemotherapy than do other types of small intestinal cancer. Survival varies with the subtypes of the lymphoma and other areas found to be involved when lymphoma is diagnosed.
  • The prognosis is poor, however, if a person has a small bowel lymphoma underlying celiac disease or if the person'simmune system is weakened.

How do you prevent small intestine cancer?

The association of small bowel cancer with underlying conditions makes it possible to identify populations at risk and to develop screening programs.

  • People with a family history of polyp syndromes, such as Peutz-Jeghers and Gardner syndrome, may benefit from regular screening using upper GI tract barium studies.
  • People with celiac disease are at higher risk of developing both adenocarcinoma and lymphoma of the small bowel. They need to maintain a gluten-free diet.
  • People with celiac disease who also have new onset weight loss, diarrhea, or abdominal pain need immediate medical attention, including possible CT scan of the abdomen and barium study of the small bowel to rule out cancer.
  • People with Crohn's disease and small bowel bypass procedures also require immediate attention.
  • Crohn's disease - related adenocarcinoma frequently develops in the lower end of the small bowel, making colonoscopy a potentially useful screening tool.

The small intestine is positioned between the stomach and the colon and is responsible for food absorption.
The small intestine is positioned between the stomach and the colon and is responsible for food absorption.

Medically reviewed by Jay B. Zatzkin, MD; American Board of Internal Medicine with subspecialty in Medical Oncology


"Epidemiology, clinical features, and types of small bowel neoplasms"

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/3/2016
Medical Author:
Medical Editor:
Medical Editor:

Must Read Articles Related to Cancer of the Small Intestine

Cancer: What You Need to Know
Cancer: What You Need to Know Cancer is a common and deadly disease, and it's surrounded by myths. There are certain basics a patient needs to know when they're confronted with a learn more >>

Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Cancer of the Small Intestine:

Cancer of the Small Intestine - Symptoms

What symptoms did you experience with your cancer of the small intestine?

Cancer of the Small Intestine - Treatment

What treatment did you receive for your cancer of the small intestine?

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 »

Medical Dictionary