Carcinoid Cancer as defined by the American Cancer Society: “carcinoid tumors or carcinoids: tumors that develop from neuroendocrine cells, usually in the digestive tract, lung, or ovary. The cancer cells from these tumors release certain hormones into the bloodstream. In about 10% of people, the hormone levels are high enough to cause facial flushing, wheezing, diarrhea, a fast heartbeat, and other symptoms throughout the body.” These symptoms are referred to as Carcinoid Syndrome.
The causes of carcinoid cancer are unclear. This type of cancer is very slow growing and has no early signs or symptoms. It is often detected while evaluating other unrelated symptoms.
Risk Factors per the Mayo Clinic:
Diagnosis can be difficult and is usually done through:
A blood test evaluating for high levels of the protein chromogranin A.
A urine test for the presence of 5-HIAA.
A CT scan
A fine needle biopsy
Treatment is truly individualized depending on the location and staging. If the tumor has not metastasized, surgery may be the treatment option.
Other treatment options:
- Radiofrequency Ablation
- Injections of Sandostatin to slow tumor growth
- Hepatic Artery Embolization-cutting off the blood supply to the tumor
The Carcinoid Cancer Foundation offers not only information on carcinoid cancer but online discussion groups and seek to increase awareness.
Together We Make a Difference
Carcinoid. com is the Novartis website which offers information on carcinoid cancer and managment of the symptoms of Carcinoid Syndrome.
Carcinoid Cancer Awareness Network: CCAN.: A non-profit organization whose mission is to intensify awareness of carcinoid cancer and to assist support groups around the world in providing patients and caregivers access to important information about carcinoid disease.
Carcinoid Cancer, Zebras and Stardust: My Sister’s Cancer Battle by Mary Girsch-Bock