Carcinoid cancers are a subset of neuroendocrine tumors that can originate in various parts of the body, commonly in the digestive and respiratory systems. Despite their rare occurrence, understanding these cancers is crucial for early detection and effective treatment.
What is Carcinoid Cancer?
Carcinoid tumors are slow-growing tumors that develop in the neuroendocrine cells. These cells are responsible for producing hormones that regulate various bodily functions. Carcinoid tumors often form in the gastrointestinal tract, particularly in the appendix, small intestine, and rectum, but they can also occur in the lungs and other organs.
Signs and Symptoms of Carcinoid Cancer
The symptoms of carcinoid cancer can vary based on the location of the tumor. Common signs include:
Flushing: Warmth and redness of the face and neck.
Diarrhea: Often accompanied by abdominal pain.
Wheezing and Shortness of Breath: Common in lung carcinoids.
Unexplained Weight Loss: Resulting from nutrient malabsorption.
Fatigue: Caused by anemia associated with chronic bleeding.
It’s important to note that carcinoid tumors can be asymptomatic, making early detection challenging.