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Carcinoid Tumor


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    Carcinoid Tumor

    Carcinoid tumors are a slow-growing type of cancer that can arise in several places throughout your body. Carcinoid tumors usually appear in the gastrointestinal tract (appendix, stomach, small intestine, colon, and rectum) and in the lungs. But, carcinoid tumors can also begin in other organs, including the ovaries and testes. Carcinoid tumors rarely cause signs and symptoms until late in the disease. Carcinoid tumors can produce and release hormones into your body that cause signs and symptoms such as diarrhea or skin flushing.

    Complications of Carcinoid Tumor


    The cells of carcinoid tumors can secrete hormones and other chemicals into your body, causing a range of complications, including:


    • Stomach ulcers. Carcinoid tumors, particularly those in the stomach, can secrete a hormone that increases acid in the stomach, which can lead to ulcers.
    • Carcinoid syndrome. Carcinoid syndrome causes redness or a feeling of warmth in your face and neck (skin flushing), chronic diarrhea, and difficulty breathing, among other signs and symptoms.
    • Carcinoid heart disease. Carcinoid tumors may secrete hormones that can cause thickening of the lining of heart chambers, valves and blood vessels. This can lead to leaky heart valves, an enlarged heart and heart failure. Carcinoid heart disease can usually be controlled with medications and surgery.
    • Cushing's syndrome. A lung carcinoid tumor can produce an excess of a hormone that can cause your body to produce too much of the hormone cortisol.
    • Acromegaly. Another hormone secreted by some lung carcinoid tumors can cause this rare hormone disorder. Acromegaly causes bones to increase in size, including the hands, feet and face.



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    Re: Carcinoid Tumor

    Causes of Carcinoid Tumor

    Cancer occurs when a cell develops a mutation in its DNA. The mutation allows the cell to continue growing and dividing when healthy cells would normally die. In the case of carcinoid tumors, the accumulating cells form a mass. Cancer cells can invade nearby healthy tissue and spread to other parts of the body. It's not clear what causes the mutations that can lead to carcinoid tumors. Carcinoid tumors develop from cells in the neuroendocrine system, a part of your body that has many functions, including production of certain hormones. These cells also have characteristics similar to nerve cells.

    Signs & Symptoms of Carcinoid Tumor


    In many cases, carcinoid tumors don't cause any signs or symptoms. When they do occur, signs and symptoms are usually vague and depend on the location of the tumor. Signs and symptoms of carcinoid tumors may include:

    • Abdominal pain
    • Bowel obstruction
    • Changes in bowel movements
    • Chest pain
    • Diarrhea
    • Difficulty breathing
    • Rectal bleeding
    • Rectal pain
    • Recurrent pneumonia
    • Redness or a feeling of warmth in your face and neck (skin flushing)




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    Re: Carcinoid Tumor

    Treatments of Carcinoid Tumor

    Treatment for a carcinoid tumor depends on the tumor's location, whether cancer has spread to other areas of the body, the types of hormones the tumor secretes, your overall health and your own preferences.

    Treatments can include:

    Surgery

    When detected early, a carcinoid tumor may be removed completely using surgery. Most carcinoid tumors are advanced when discovered, so complete removal may not be possible. In some cases, surgeons may try to remove as much of the tumor as possible, to help control signs and symptoms. What types of operations are available to you will depend on the size and location of your carcinoid tumor.



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    Re: Carcinoid Tumor

    Treatments for carcinoid tumors that have spread to the liver

    Carcinoid tumors commonly spread (metastasize) to the liver. Options may include:


    • Liver surgery. Surgery to remove part or all of the liver (hepatic resection) may control signs and symptoms caused by liver tumors.
    • Stopping blood supply to liver tumors. Using hepatic artery embolization, a doctor can clog the liver's main artery (hepatic artery), cutting off the blood supply to cancer cells that have spread to the liver. Healthy liver cells survive by relying on blood from other blood vessels.
    • Killing cancer cells with heat or cold. Radiofrequency ablation delivers heat treatments that cause carcinoid tumor cells in the liver to die. Cryoablation uses cycles of freezing and thawing to kill cancer cells.



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    Re: Carcinoid Tumor

    Medications for carcinoid syndrome

    Injections of medications may block tumor cells from secreting the hormones that can cause the signs and symptoms of carcinoid syndrome. Octreotide (Sandostatin) and lanreotide (Somatuline Depot) may help control flushing and diarrhea in most people with carcinoid syndrome. Both drugs are injected once a month and may cause side effects such as abdominal pain and bloating, diarrhea, and nausea. Side effects typically diminish over time.

    When to seek Medical Advice

    Carcinoid tumors often don't cause any signs and symptoms. If you experience any signs and symptoms that bother you and are persistent, make an appointment with your doctor.



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