According to the research, about 12,000 people in the U.S are diagnosed with neuroendocrine tumors each year. More than 50% of people with neuroendocrine tumors don’t know how to diagnose these tumors. Unfortunately, most cancer patients lose their lives due to a lack of knowledge and treatment.
These tumors can affect the population irrespective of gender, age, or race. It’s important to bring awareness about this type of cancer. The neuroendocrine mostly affects the human body’s digestive tract and causes a life-threatening situation in the future. In this blog post, we will explain the diagnosis and treatment of the neuroendocrine tumor.
What Are Neuroendocrine Tumors?
In simple words, neuroendocrine tumors are the cancerous growth that develops in the neuroendocrine cells. This malignant neuroendocrine disease can form in any part of the human body. The function of these cells is to send the response in the form of hormones. The release of the hormones is sent as a response to the nerve’s signals.
In simple words, the neuroendocrine plays an important function in releasing hormones in response to various nerve signals. These cells have similar traits to other nerve cells. The neuroendocrine tumor can occur in the appendix, lungs, pancreas, and small intestine.
Are All Neuroendocrine Tumors Cancerous?
Yes, all neuroendocrine tumors are cancerous now. In the past, these tumors were divided into cancerous and non-cancerous. After further studies, all the categories of neuroendocrine malignancy come in the cancerous form. Through the long research, these tumors are now classified into functional and non-functional categories.
- Neuroendocrine functioning tumors are those which produce the excess symptoms causing hormones. In these tumors, the amount of releasing hormones is huge, which causes the main symptoms of the tumors.
- Neuroendocrine non-functioning tumors don’t produce the excess symptoms forming hormones. The amount of hormones they release is not enough to cause the symptoms.
Different Types Of Neuroendocrine Tumors
As we mentioned above, the multiple tumors in neuroendocrine cells cause serious problems in the future. These tumors are classified into different types based on the cause and symptoms.
Adrenal Neuroendocrine Tumors
The first type of tumor is the Adrenal neuroendocrine tumor. This type of cancer is rare and starts growing in the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands are the triangular glands located on the top of the kidneys. These glands produce hormones that send signals to the whole body. Adrenal cancer can occur in any age group. The most affected age group is children younger than five years and adults between the ages of 40 and 50.
Carcinoid Neuroendocrine Tumors
The carcinoid tumor is a slow-growing tumor that affects different body parts. This tumor is the subset of the other neuroendocrine tumor. It targets the human body’s digestive tract in the form of slow-paced growing cancer. People can feel the problems in the stomach, appendix, rectum, and lungs during this type of tumor.
Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors
In this type of neuroendocrine tumor, the group of cancers affects the pancreas cells. The pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor is also known as pNET. The hormone-producing cells are directly affected by these tumors. Some pNET continue to secrete hormones in the body. As a result, the human body suffers from various problems such as stomach ulcers, heartburn, diarrhea, etc.
Common Symptoms Of Neuroendocrine Tumors
The symptoms and signs of neuroendocrine cancer depend on the body part where the tumor develops. While analyzing the common symptoms of neuroendocrine tumors, various factors decide the signs:
- Size of tumor
- Type of tumor
- Whether the tumor produces the hormones
- Whether it spread to the different parts of the body
In most cases, people don’t experience the early symptoms of neuroendocrine tumors. The symptoms are only detected when cancer grows larger and affects the functionality of specific body organs. The early sign of the neuroendocrine cancer are:
- Pain throughout the affected area of the body. You can experience intense pain in the growing area of the tumor.
- The feeling of tiredness throughout the day. At the beginning of the neuroendocrine tumor, people feel weak in doing simple tasks.
- The feeling of growing something under the skin. The person diagnosed with a neuroendocrine tumor has a growing lump in the affected area.
- Physical pressure on the specific organ of the body. When the tumor is developed in the intestines, it may cause bowel obstruction.
- Periodic bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract. As the neuroendocrine tumors mostly affect the digestive tract of the body. You may suffer from the bleeding in your intestinal tract.
- Adults usually suffer from carcinoid heart disease. As a result, there are higher chances of getting severe heart problems in the future.
What Are The Causes Of Neuroendocrine Tumors?
There’s no exact cause of the neuroendocrine tumors. The formation of these tumors begins in the neuroendocrine cells. These cells are found throughout the human body.
- The main cause of neuroendocrine cancer is a mutation of the DNA. The various cells contain the instructions about which function to do next. Due to the mutation, this DNA multiplies and starts forming the tumors in neuroendocrine cells.
- The other cause is the slow process of developing similar traits of the nerve cells. The aggressive tumors destroy the important body tissue and infect the other parts of the body.
How To Diagnose Neuroendocrine Tumors?
Due to the lack of specificity, the diagnosis process of the neuroendocrine tumor is difficult. Sometimes the normal or mild symptoms don’t diagnose the tumors. It’s important to have specific ways of diagnosis of neuroendocrine cancer. Various tests and procedures can be used to know the exact affected area.
Physical Examination Of The Body
During the physical examination of the whole body, the doctor understands the signs and symptoms of neuroendocrine tumors. The doctor may do a physical test to feel the lymph nodes. They may observe the signs of the excess hormones produced by the tumor.
The doctor may take a sample of your blood, urine, and small tissue to test the size of neuroendocrine tumors. These tests aim to understand the signs of excess hormones produced by the tumors.
The other way to diagnose neuroendocrine cancer is to undergo imaging tests. The various imaging tests that help diagnose the tumors are CT Scan, Ultrasound, and MRI. These tests create a picture of the tumor using positron emission tomography.
Related Topic:- Neuroendocrine Tumors: The Precise Diagnosis And Treatment
How To Treat Neuroendocrine Tumors?
Neuroendocrine tumor treatment will depend on the tumor’s type, size, and location. The doctor decides the type of treatment based on signs and symptoms produced by neuroendocrine cancer.
Regular Monitoring Of Tumor
Regular monitoring of the tumor is commonly used in neuroendocrine tumor treatment. During this treatment, a doctor gives active surveillance of the slow-growing tumor. Neuroendocrine cancer is regularly monitored with advanced treatment.
In this treatment, various targeted drugs have been given to the patients. These specific medications prevent the body from producing excessive hormones. The targeted drugs can be given in the form of solid or liquid.
Chemotherapy treatment is used to destroy the tumor using powerful drugs. These powerful drugs are given to kill the neuroendocrine tumor-forming tissue. It is recommended for cancer treatment if there is a risk of forming a tumor again.
The well-planned surgery by the surgeons is used to remove the neuroendocrine tumor. In this treatment, surgeons aim to remove the whole tumor and the surrounding tissue.
Neuroendocrine tumors can affect any part of your body. Most of the time, these tumors don’t show the symptoms and causes. The affected area in your pancreas, digestive tract, and lungs creates problems once the tumor grows in size. It’s important to diagnose it and reach out to the cancer specialist as soon as possible. The neuroendocrine treatment is effective when it begins in the tumor’s early stage.
At University Cancer Centers, we provide the best treatment after analyzing the symptoms and stages of cancer. Our experts believe in doing deep research about the type of cancer and then offering top-class medical treatment to the patients. We keep the patients under 24/7 surveillance and record their timely progress. For booking an appointment, visit our website now.