Carcinoid Tumor

Carcinoid tumors are a type of neuroendocrine tumor, which grows at a slow rate but can gradually increase in size. The majority of carcinoid tumors have less defined symptoms and are typically found in the appendix, small intestine, large intestine (colon), rectum and stomach.

Carcinoid Tumor Symptoms

In most of cases, during the early stage of the disease, there are no distinct symptoms. Carcinoid tumors can eventually cause a variety of signs and symptoms. These symptoms vary and depend on the location of the tumor.

Carcinoid tumors may result in one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Chest pain
  • Watery stool (diarrhea)
  • Wheezing
  • Difficult breathing or shortness of breath
  • Feeling hot
  • Facial and neck flushing
  • Some parts of the skin may look purple.
  • Abrupt weight gain

A carcinoid tumor may develop in the lungs or the digestive system, which may cause similar symptoms as above.

More specific symptoms may include one or more of the following:

  • Digestive disorders, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. This results from the carcinoid tumor growing in the digestive tract, obstructing bowel movement, thus causing difficulty in defecation.
  • Pain and bleeding in the rectal region.
  • Feeling hot
  • Chest pain
  • Facial and neck flushing

Carcinoid Tumor Diagnosis

Carcinoid tumor diagnosis mainly depends on detecting either or both of the following;

  1. The various byproducts resulting from carcinoid tumors.
  2. The location of carcinoid tumors

The following tests are performed in order to confirm the diagnosis:

  • Blood tests:

The blood tests analyzes the level of hormones secreted.

  • Urine tests

Carcinoid tumors may also be diagnosed through urine tests, which detect the presence of byproducts resulting from the breakdown of hormones secreted from carcinoid tumors.

  • Imaging Tests:

To ascertain the location of the carcinoid tumors, imaging tests are recommended, including:

√ X-ray
√ MRI
√ CT
√ PET

Other techniques that may help to detect the location of carcinoid tumors in the body include:

  • Gastroscopy & Colonoscopy
  • Bronchoscopy
  • Capsule endoscopy

While colonoscopy is recommended for carcinoid tumor diagnosis when the tumor is suspected to be present in the large intestine (colon); bronchoscopy may be suggested for the detection of lung carcinoid tumors. In addition, capsule endoscopy, which is a technique specifically designed for checking the small intestine, may be recommended.

The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. Always consult your doctor