If you’ve been diagnosed with a NET, your doctor will recommend treatment based on the tumor’s size and location. Everyone’s NET is different; therefore the treatment your doctor recommends will be specific to your situation. It is also important to make sure that Carcinoid Syndrome does not take a back seat in your treatment process. Share all your concerns and symptoms regarding Carcinoid Syndrome with your healthcare team. It is just as important to treat your Carcinoid Syndrome symptoms as it is to treat the tumor.
This technique is used when tumors are small. A thin instrument consisting of a light, a lens, and a surgical tool is inserted through the mouth and down through the digestive tract to the site of the tumor.
Achieved through laparoscopic surgery, this type of therapy can reduce the blood flow through the main artery to the liver. This can help kill cancer cells.
Achieved through laparoscopic surgery, this technique is used to freeze the tumor, destroying cancerous tissue.
Achieved through laparoscopic surgery, this medical procedure sends high-frequency radio waves to the tumor with the goal of killing cancer cells.
All types of surgery have varying recovery times. In ideal cases, surgery only removes the tumor. If that’s not possible, healthy tissue around the tumor, lymph nodes, and all or part of an affected organ (such as a section of the intestinal tract) may need to be removed as well. When part of an organ is removed, that organ may not function as well.
The effects of this depend on each particular surgery.
An anticancer drug, or combination of drugs, is injected or taken by mouth. The drug travels throughout the body via the bloodstream. Carcinoid tumors don’t respond well to chemotherapy, or “chemo,” so it is not typically used unless the tumor has spread to other organs (from the intestines to the liver, for example). In addition to attacking cancer cells, chemo can damage healthy cells, including the cells in your bone marrow that create blood.
Side effects: Nausea and vomiting; loss of appetite; hair loss; mouth sores; low blood count
Side effects: Nausea and vomiting (sometimes severe); low blood cell counts
Certain hormones can help slow tumor growth. Somatostatin analogs (SSAs) work similarly to the hormone somatostatin produced by the body. SSAs are given through injection and are used to block the effect of hormones produced by NETs in your body.
Side effects: Abdominal pain; musculoskeletal pain; vomiting; headache; injection site reaction; high blood sugar; hypertension; gallstones
This form of treatment acts on the specific molecules that allow cancer cells to grow and spread, blocking cancer growth, unlike chemotherapy or radiation.
Side effects: Inflammation of the mouth; infections; rash; fatigue; diarrhea; edema; vomiting; nausea; fever; weakness; cough; headache; and decreased appetite