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Carcinoid Syndrome Diagnosis

Carcinoid Syndrome Diagnosis

It may be difficult for doctors to recognize your symptoms as carcinoid syndrome because it is a rare condition. Fortunately, there are tests that can help diagnose carcinoid syndrome. Your doctor may choose one of the following methods.

5-HIAA test

If you have carcinoid syndrome, you might have high levels of 5-HIAA. 5-HIAA shows up in your system after your body processes serotonin. Your doctor can diagnose you using a 5-HIAA urine test or a plasma test. You can continue to monitor your 5-HIAA levels by getting them tested every few months.

Learn more about the importance of 5-HIAA

Serotonin test

Serotonin levels can also be measured directly in the blood with a blood test. High levels of serotonin may indicate carcinoid syndrome.

Diagnosing Neuroendocrine Tumors

A neuroendocrine tumor or carcinoid tumors are rare and sometimes difficult to diagnose. Here are a few tests commonly used to help diagnose a neuroendocrine tumor.

  • Chromagranin A (CgA) test
    One way to help diagnose neuroendocrine tumors is by testing your blood for a substance called CgA. Studies have shown that people with neuroendocrine or carcinoid tumors also have high levels of CgA.
  • PET scan
    PET stands for Positron Emission Tomography and uses a radioactive material to locate cancer in the body. PET scans can be useful in locating hard-to-find neuroendocrine tumors.
  • Gallium 68
    Gallium 68 is a specific type of molecule used in PET scans shown to be effective in detecting neuroendocrine tumors.
  • Somatostatin Receptor Scintigraphy (SRS) [OctreoScan®]
    This type of scan works by injecting a drug like somatostatin with a radioactive material and performing a scan to show where tumors are located.

Complete the Carcinoid Syndrome Impact Tool to see how your symptoms are affecting you, and get tips for managing carcinoid syndrome.