Most cancers originate in a specific place and are identified accordingly, such as lung cancer and skin cancer. Neuroendocrine tumors are different because they can begin in nearly any part of your body. The exceptional team at Choice Cancer Care has extensive experience evaluating your symptoms and running various diagnostic tests to accurately identify neuroendocrine tumors. If you have questions about the varied symptoms caused by these tumors or you need to schedule an appointment, use online booking or call one of the offices in Plano, Lewisville, Irving, or Southlake, Texas today.
Neuroendocrine tumors begin in cells that release hormones into your bloodstream in response to stimulation from the nervous system. These cells live throughout your body, primarily in organs, where they control many body functions.
Neuroendocrine tumors are malignant (cancerous). They can develop anywhere, including in endocrine glands such as your pituitary, adrenal, and thyroid glands. However, they most often occur in your gastrointestinal tract, lungs, and pancreas.
Neuroendocrine tumors grow slowly. About 40% of neuroendocrine tumors are functional, meaning they actively produce hormones. The variety of hormones released can cause a range of symptoms that are hard to associate with cancer.
You may experience symptoms from high levels of hormones or as the tumor gets large enough to press against the nearby tissues. Hormones cause many different symptoms, depending on the type of tumor and the hormone it releases.
Most patients have general cancer symptoms such as fatigue, loss of appetite, and weight loss. Other symptoms caused by neuroendocrine tumors include:
Carcinoid syndrome refers to symptoms that occur when neuroendocrine cancer spreads from the lungs or small intestine to another part of your body.
A few carcinoid syndrome symptoms include shortness of breath, wheezing, facial flushing, unexplained weight gain, high blood pressure, and a fast heart rate.
Your doctor at Choice Cancer Care diagnoses neuroendocrine tumors with several specialized blood tests, PET-CT scans, a biopsy, and in some cases, a diagnostic laparotomy to explore your abdominal cavity.
The possible treatments for a neuroendocrine tumor include:
The treatment that’s best for you depends on variables like your overall health, age, whether the cancer has spread or surgery is possible, and the potential side effects.
Your team at Choice Cancer Care, which includes a nurse navigator serving as your advocate, carefully explains your options, answers your questions, and helps you make the decision that works for you.
If you have ongoing symptoms of a neuroendocrine tumor, book an appointment online or call Choice Cancer Care today.