Carcinoid tumors are rare, slow-growing cancers that usually start in the lining of the digestive tract and lungs, but can also occur in other areas, including the testes and ovaries. These tumors are a type of neuroendocrine tumor – growths that begin in the cells of the nervous and hormonal systems.
Carcinoid cancer often does not produce symptoms in the early stages, and is often diagnosed inadvertently during an X-ray for an unrelated reason.
Some carcinoid tumors produce symptoms that are not specific to this disease, such as facial flushing, diarrhea, abdominal pain, rash, and intestinal bleeding. This type of cancer is mostly diagnosed in people older than 60. Carcinoid cancer is more common in women than men. More than 12,000 people are diagnosed with carcinoid tumors every year in the United States.
Risk factors for carcinoid cancers include having a family history of multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1) syndrome or neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) syndrome, and having certain conditions that affect the stomach’s ability to make stomach acid, such as atrophic gastritis, pernicious anemia, or Zollinger-Ellison syndrome.
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