Besides, some do not produce hormones, while others do not secrete enough hormones that would result in any signs. These are often called nonfunctional neuroendocrine tumors.
What Are Different Types Of Neuroendocrine Tumors?
In general, neuroendocrine tumors are categorized based on where they arise from. Some of the different types of NETs can be:
- Adrenal cancer
- Medullary thyroid carcinoma
- Carcinoid tumors in the lungs, or thymus
- Large cell carcinoid tumor
- Pheochromocytoma of the adrenal gland
Neuroendocrine Tumor Diagnosis
There are numerous tests and procedures for diagnosing neuroendocrine tumors. All these depend on the site of the tumor, and the tests generally include:
In a physical test, the doctor will examine the patient’s body to get clarity about the signs and symptoms. They may expect swollen lymph nodes or check for symptoms, like if a tumor secretes excess hormones.
The patient may have imaging tests like a CT scan, MRI, or ultrasound. All these tests aim to get images of the tumor in the body. In the case of neuroendocrine tumors, the pictures are sometimes created with PET or Positron Emission Tomography. For this, there can be the use of radioactive tracers that the doctor injects into the patient’s vein.
Biopsy is one of the procedures for removing a sample of cells for testing. The doctor may put a long, thin tube into the patient’s lungs, esophagus, or rectum or do a bronchoscopy. The purpose here is to collect the cells. Where the doctor will do the bronchoscopy depends on the situation, and sometimes, even surgery can be needed to collect a tissue sample.
Tests To Look For Excess Hormones
The doctor may also ask you to do a patient’s blood or urine test for the symptoms of excessive hormones sometimes secreted by neuroendocrine tumors.
Who Are Affected With Neuroendocrine Tumors?
Neuroendocrine tumors can happen to any person. These can include children, but very rarely. Also, compared to men, women are at a greater risk of developing neuroendocrine tumors.
Yearly, over 12000 new cases are diagnosed, and up to 125,000 people in the country are currently undergoing the condition.
Common Neuroendocrine Tumor Symptoms
Functional neuroendocrine tumors produce too many hormones. So, hormone production may result in the symptoms. Excess hormones can be the influx of cancer cells into the bloodstream or the body’s inability to break down hormones produced by tumors. The common symptoms of functional neuroendocrine tumors can be:
- Shortening of breath
- Skin flushing
- Changes in blood pressure level
- Increased heartbeat
Nonfunctional tumors may not produce excessive hormones. But, as they become enlarged, they might incur symptoms that may affect the nearby tissues and structures. The symptoms of nonfunctional tumors include:
- Vomiting and nausea
- Chest pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Abdominal pain
- Upset stomach
Treatments For Neuroendocrine Tumor
Are you diagnosed with a neuroendocrine tumor? Then, your healthcare provider may recommend a treatment as per your symptoms and condition. The treatment or medication will entirely depend on the person’s health and specific details about cancer.
The healthcare provider may even look at the following things while deciding on a treatment plan:
- Where the cancer has begun to develop
- Where the cancer has spread
- The grade
- The stage
- Other health conditions
Here are the treatments that the provider may recommend to the patient:
Surgery For Neuroendocrine Tumors
Most individuals with neuroendocrine tumors may get help with surgery. But, when deciding on the type of surgery, the location of the cancer matters. The healthcare provider may even consider factors like the patient’s age, overall well-being, and others.
The surgery can be performed for many reasons, such as complete removal of the tumor or relief from the symptoms.
Drug Therapy For Neuroendocrine Tumors
Drug therapy for neuroendocrine tumors is a common treatment for managing NETS. The patient is prescribed several drugs to control symptoms that occur due to excess hormones. The drug therapy also helps slow down and control cancer development.
Radiation Therapy For Neuroendocrine Tumors
In radiation therapy, doctors use high-energy rays or particles to eradicate cancer cells. Generally, it is not used for treating NET, but if it is, it will be when the cancer has spread.
Moreover, for destroying cancerous cells and lowering pain or managing signs, healthcare providers may recommend radiation therapy.
Liver Directed Therapy For Neuroendocrine Tumors
Neuroendocrine tumors generally spread (if they) to the liver, and liver-directed therapy targets the cancer in the liver. Doctors recommend this therapy for treating NETs spread to the liver, and they are the best option when surgery cannot be performed.
A patient undergoing liver-directed therapy can also slow down and control cancer growth. They can also control symptoms of excessive hormone secretion and reduce one or many tumors before surgery.
Complications Of Treatments Of Neuroendocrine Tumors
Treatments of neuroendocrine tumors can bring certain complications that patients may suffer later. Every NET treatment can affect patients in distinctive ways. So, it is better to ask the specialists or professionals about the complications of the treatment. They may advise some preventive measures to lower the risk, and your provider may keep a check on your health for years.
What Is The Neuroendocrine Tumor Survival Rate?
Survival rates can give clarification of what percentage of patients suffering from a similar type and stage of cancer are still living for a certain period. However, it may not tell how long the person will survive. But it can help in knowing the possibility of getting a successful treatment.
Neuroendocrine tumors can grow slowly or become really aggressive. Thus, there can be a differing survival rate for every person suffering from cancer. It may also depend on the cancer’s type, stage, and location.
In a majority of cases, there is the use of surgical resection in the treatment. But, to remove minor superficial tumors of the intestines, the doctor may use an endoscopy. There have been many instances when neuroendocrine tumors have spread when diagnosed or returned post-surgery.
People living with neuroendocrine tumors, be it any type, can turn to University Cancer Centers to find the right treatment approach. University Cancer Centers is a reputable name in the healthcare industry and is known to provide the right guidance to cancer patients and their families. Thus, if you have recently got a diagnosis and need guidance with neuroendocrine tumor treatments, consider consulting our experts. To book a consultation, Click Here.