Neuroendocrine Cancer- Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Neuroendocrine tumors are a kind of cancer that starts in specific cells known as neuroendocrine cells. They grow in the neuroendocrine system’s protoplasm, whose main task is producing and leaving hormones in the blood. Cancer or tumor usually develops over several years, and various patients might not feel symptoms until cancer has already transmitted to different body parts. But nothing to worry about as various neuroendocrine cancer treatments are available today. 

The causes of neuroendocrine cancer are still not completely understood. However, some pre-existing situations, such as MEN (multiple endocrine neoplasia) type 1 and neurofibromatosis type 1, may raise your risk of producing neuroendocrine cancer. In addition, the age of over 60 is also a risk factor for this type of cancer. 

What are the Symptoms of Neuroendocrine Cancer? 

The neuroendocrine cancer symptoms vary based on their position in the body. A tumor in the digestive tract, known as a gastrointestinal tumor, may create stomach pain, stiffness, or diarrhea. In contrast, a lung tumor may be present with a respiratory or constant cough. Neuroendocrine tumors can lead to signs such as differences in bowel nature, breath shortness, appetite loss, and weight loss. Some neuroendocrine cancers result in a diversely huge sum of hormones being discharged into the blood. This can point out problems like flushing, diarrhea, cramps, reduced blood sugar, and heart complications. 

Neuroendocrine tumors are generally identified with blood tests, biopsy, and scans like ultrasound, CT (computerized tomography), or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). The most appropriate treatment relies on individual conditions like the place of the NET, what the stage is, and the patient’s complete health. Usually, if diagnosed early, the tumor may be removed via surgery, decreasing the symptoms and making the situation better. Additionally, patients may be given medicines such as lanreotide and octreotide, which prevents the body from developing excessive hormones and reduces the growth of the disease. 

Different Causes of Neuroendocrine Cancer or Tumors 

There is no specific cause or particular risk linked to neuroendocrine tumors. There are still factors that may increase an individual’s risk of producing a tumor, including: 

Genetic Syndromes: MEN1 or multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 is a genetic situation connected with definite neuroendocrine tumors, such as GI tract tumors and pancreatic tumors. Genetic situations linked to tumors are neurofibromatosis type 1, Von Hippel-Lindau syndrome, MEN2 (multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2), and tuberous sclerosis complex. 

Alternative Medical Conditions: Some diseases can put individuals at higher risk of producing particular neuroendocrine tumors. People with illnesses that harm the stomach and lessen acid development are at a higher risk of having neuroendocrine cancer or tumor of the stomach. 

Diagnosis of Neuroendocrine Cancer or Tumors 

Many neuroendocrine tumors are formed suddenly when individuals go for testing for reasons not related to the tumor. As these tumors can be seen in various locations of the body, identifying them needs a different approach based on the tumor type, location, even if it makes excessive hormones, how intrusive it is, and whether it has been transmitted to various body parts. 

The diagnostic tests that can be employed to check tumors of neuroendocrine are: 

  • Lab testing or cytopathology 
  • Endoscopic ultrasound, biopsy 
  • ERCP or Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography 
  • CT scan 
  • CT angiography 
  • MRI or (Magnetic resonance imaging) 
  • Nuclear medicine imaging 
  • Laparoscopy 
  • Genetic examination and counseling 

Treatment for Neuroendocrine Cancer 

Neuroendocrine cancer treatment options are: 

  • Immunotherapy: This treatment uses the drug interferon, which assists in stimulating the immune system. 
  • Surgery: Invasive processes using laparotomy or laparoscopy are to remove the whole tumor or decrease its mass. For last-stage disease, mesenteric resections for narrow bowel tumors and cytoreductive incision may be suggested. 
  • Chemotherapy: These drugs are made to inhibit the development of cancer cells from damaging them. 
  • Targeted therapy: These drugs attack substantial parts of the cancer cell or its surroundings that may be liable for the growth of the tumor. 
  • PRPT or peptide receptor radionuclide therapy: PRRT mixes a cell-targeting protein with a radionuclide, injected intravenously to give a high radiation dose to the tumors. 
  • Interventional radiology: This area of medicine employs both needle and catheter-based treatments. 


If you think you may have signs of neuroendocrine cancer, it is best to ask an expert. Stay connected with the specialists from the Cancer Healer Center for a qualified assessment and get the best neuroendocrine cancer treatment for your condition.

Adrianna Tori

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