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Signs and Symptoms of Islet Cell Tumors

Islet cell tumors are cancerous cells that form in the tissues of the pancreas. Islet cell tumors are also called neuroendocrine tumors of the pancreas. Islet cell tumors may or may not cause symptoms, depending on whether they are functional or non-functional tumors. Functional tumors cause dramatic symptoms, whereas non-functional tumors cause no symptoms. We have put together a list of common signs and symptoms of islet cell tumors below.

The Signs and Symptoms of Islet Cell Tumors are as follows:

The signs and symptoms of islet tumors can be caused by the tumors themselves, if they are functional; if the tumors are non-functional, the signs and symptoms are caused by the tumors as they spread and grow.  Most non-functional tumors are malignant, and most functional tumors are benign.

Signs and symptoms of functional islet cell tumors:

  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Low blood sugar
  • Rapid heart beat
  • Skin rash
  • High blood sugar
  • Weight loss
  • Dehydration
  • Low potassium levels in the blood

The above signs and symptoms are not present in every patient – The signs and symptoms of functional islet cell tumors depend upon the specific hormone being secreted.

Signs and symptoms of non-functional islet cell tumors:

  • Diarrhea
  • Indigestion
  • Jaundice
  • Abdominal pain
  • Back pain

Islet cell tumors are very rare – there are only about 2500 cases of islet cell tumors diagnosed in the United States each year.



Diagnosis of Islet Cell Tumors

A diagnosis of islet cell tumors is made through a CT scan or an MRI of the abdomen. Blood chemistry panels are also used to measure the amounts of certain hormones.


Books For People With Signs and Symptoms of Islet Cell Tumors

21st Century Ultimate Medical Guide to Islet Cell Tumors, Practical Clinical Information for Physicians and Patients, Treatment Options (Two CD-ROM Set)
PM Medical Health News
Surgical Pathology of Endocrine and Neuroendocrine Tumors (Current Clinical Pathology)
Ashraf Khan


Selected abstracts on carcinoids and islet cell neoplasms (SuDoc HE 20.3173/3:OT-87/10)
U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services
Islet: Webster’s Timeline History, 2007
Icon Group International

Islet Cell Tumor Resources

General Patient Resources

  • National Cancer Institute

Expert-reviewed information summary about the treatment of islet cell tumors (endocrine pancreas).

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/isletcell/Patient/page1

  • US Oncology

Get an overview, a list of tumor types, a list of symptoms, and information about common treatments for islet cell tumors, a type of pancreatic cancer.

http://www.usoncology.com/patients/YourJourney/CancerTypes/IsletCellTumor

  • WD

Pancreatic islet cell tumors (non-functioning tumor) information including symptoms, diagnosis, misdiagnosis, treatment, causes, patient stories, videos and more.

http://www.rightdiagnosis.com/p/pancreatic_islet_cell_tumors_non_functioning_tumor/intro.htm

  • University of Chicago Medical Center

Expert-reviewed information summary about the treatment of islet cell tumors (endocrine pancreas).

http://www.uchospitals.edu/online-library/content=CDR62678



Medical Resources

  • Web MD

Provides information on pancreatic islet cell tumors including types, symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatments.

http://www.webmd.com/cancer/pancreatic-cancer/islet-cell-tumors

  • Pub Med Health

Reviews causes, incidence, risk factors, symptoms, treatment, prognosis and complications.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001430/