Doctor's Notes on Gastrointestinal Carcinoid Tumors
Gastrointestinal carcinoid tumors are abnormal masses of cells that form from neuroendocrine cells (a type of cell that is like a nerve cell and a hormone-making cell) located in the GI tract. The tumors are rare, most grow slowly, and some secrete GI hormones. Although some have no early symptoms, when symptoms do occur, they can be caused by the tumor and/or the GI hormones they secrete. Signs and symptoms may vary according to where the tumor is located and sometimes how much, if any, GI hormones they make.
- Duodenum: abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, change in stool color, nausea, vomiting, jaundice, heartburn
- Jejunum and ileum: abdominal pain, weight loss, bloated, fatigue, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting
- Colon: abdominal pain, weight loss
- Rectum: pain in the rectum, constipation, blood in the stool
What Are the Treatments for Gastrointestinal Carcinoid Tumors?
The treatment of these tumors may involve one or more of the following options, used alone or in combination:
- Surgery: to remove the carcinoid tumor entirely or to reduce its signs and symptoms by cutting out most of the tumor
- Medications like octreotide to block hormones secreted by the tumor
- Chemotherapy: used to kill remaining tumor cells
- Targeted drug therapy: drugs used to attack specific areas only present in certain carcinoid tumor cells
- PRRT (peptide receptor radionuclide therapy) binds to carcinoid cells and then kills cells with radiation that is part of the binding agent.
In addition, carcinoid tumors commonly spread to the liver and are then treated by surgery, arterial embolization and/or radiofrequency or cryoablation to kill carcinoid tumor cells. Your doctors can recommend a treatment plan that addresses your individual situation.
Must Read Articles:
Can You Die from Carcinoid Syndrome?Carcinoid syndrome is caused by a neuroendocrine (carcinoid) tumor, and that may lead to liver dysfunction and death in cases where the cancer has spread (metastasized). Still, this is a cancer that responds to treatment and even in advanced stages, the five-year survival rate is almost 70 percent. Early diagnosis leads to a 97 percent survival rate.
Colon CancerColon cancer is the third most common cancer in the U.S. Get the facts on colon cancer (colorectal cancer) signs, symptoms, causes, prognosis, treatment, and prevention screening through colonoscopy.
Is Carcinoid Cancer Fatal?Small carcinoid tumors (neuroendocrine tumors) doctors catch early and remove may be completely cured. The survival rate drops to 80 percent five years after diagnosis for later-stage carcinoid tumors.
Stomach CancerStomach cancer is found in the upper digestive tract and usually begins in the lining of the stomach organ. Adenocarcinoma is the most common form of stomach cancer, and this kind of cancer tends to spread or metastasize into the adjoining tissues and organs. Risk factors include: Smoking, a diet low in fruit and vegetables, being male, a diet high in smoked and processed meats, and a prior diagnosis of pernicious anemia Treatment includes surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.
Stomach Cancer in ChildrenSymptoms of stomach cancer include stomach pain, loss of appetite, indigestion, and weight loss. Learn about diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis.
What Is the Survival Rate for Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors?Gastrointestinal stromal tumors have a high survival rate if the cancer is caught early; 94% of people diagnosed with localized GI stromal tumors are alive five years later.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.