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Gastrointestinal Carcinoid Tumor Signs and Symptoms

A carcinoid tumor is a rare type of tumor that secretes hormones into your bloodstream, causing a variety of signs and symptoms.  Carcinoid tumors occur most often in the gastrointestinal tract. When the hormones that carcinoid tumors secrete circulate in the bloodstream, it causes a condition called carcinoid syndrome. We have listed the common signs and symptoms of carcinoid tumors and carcinoid syndrome below.

Also, we have information on diagnosis, helpful books and valuable resources for patients.

The Signs and Symptoms of Gastrointestinal Carcinoid Tumor are as follows:

  • Skin flushing
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Diarrhea
  • Wheezing
  • Peripheral edema
  • Facial skin lesions
  • Spider veins on the nose and upper lip

The signs and symptoms of gastrointestinal carcinoid tumor and carcinoid syndrome occur when the hormones released by the tumors enter the bloodstream. The major hormone released is serotonin, which causes the diarrhea and bronchial spasms.

Carcinoid syndrome is considered to be very rare. This is because many carcinoid tumors do not produce any hormones. In addition, the hormones that carcinoid tumors produce are often destroyed by the liver before they enter the bloodstream.

Carcinoid tumors can be benign or malignant. Small benign tumors are often discovered by chance during other surgery, and can be removed completely. Malignant carcinoid tumors are generally larger than 2 cm and have the potential of invading the tissue and organs near the tumor, for example the liver. Even patients with large malignant tumors can survive years or even decades, and can take medications to keep carcinoid syndrome under control.

Diagnosis of Carcinoid Tumor

A diagnosis of carcinoid tumor is made only after other reasons for skin flushing and diarrhea have been ruled out. Tests to confirm a diagnosis of carcinoid tumor may include a urine test to measure the level of serotonin, a blood test, and a CT scan of the abdomen.

Books For People With Signs and Symptoms of Carcinoid Tumor

Medifocus Guidebook on: Carcinoid Tumor Inc.
The Official Patient’s Sourcebook On Gastrointestinal Carcinoid Tumors: Directory For The Internet Age
Icon Health Publications

Gastrointestinal Carcinoid Tumors: Histogenetic, Histochemical, Immunohistochemical, Clinical and Therapeutic Aspects (Progress in Histochemistry and Cytochemistry)
Erik Wilander
Gale Encyclopedia of Cancer: Carcinoid tumors, gastrointestinal
Maureen Haggerty

Gastrointestinal Carcinoid Tumor Resources

General Patient Resources

  • National Cancer Institute

Information about gastrointestinal carcinoid tumor: treatment, clinical trials, and other topics from the National Cancer Institute.

  • American Cancer Society

Whether you (or a loved one) are worried about developing a gastrointestinal carcinoid tumor, have just been diagnosed, are going through treatment, or are trying to stay well after treatment, this Detailed Guide can help you find the answers you need.

  • City of Hope

For diagnosis and treatment to recovery, City of Hope stands at the forefront of caring for patients with gastrointestinal carcinoid tumors. Our approach is comprehensive and aggressive. We combine highly advanced technologies, the most promising treatments and the collective skills of renowned specialists to provide our patients the best outcomes possible.

  • Fox Chase Cancer Center

Expert-reviewed information summary about the treatment of gastrointestinal carcinoid tumors.

  • Know Cancer . com

Comprehensive guide to Gastrointestinal Carcinoid Tumors. Includes information on tumor symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and research and statistics.

  • WD

Carcinoid of Gastrointestinal Tract Message Boards.

  • Med Help

Expert-reviewed information summary about the treatment of gastrointestinal carcinoid tumors.

Medical Resources

  • Web MD

General information about gastrointestinal carcinoid tumors.