About neuroendocrine tumours
The neuroendocrine system is a system made up of special cells that spread throughout your body and can be found in most organs of your body. These include the organs in your gastrointestinal (GI) tract as well as the pancreas, gallbladder, lungs and respiratory organs in the head and neck.
This system is a collection of certain nerve cells, glands, non-endocrine tissues, neurochemicals, and hormones. These elements create several signals that function in an integrated manner to help regulate your physiological state.
The tumour that develops in one of the above-given organs (part of the neuroendocrine system) is known as a neuroendocrine tumour.
Neuroendocrine tumours symptoms
Neuroendocrine tumour symptoms usually appear in the form of dysfunction in hormone regulation as cancer affects the cells responsible for the release of hormones in the bloodstream.
The signs and symptoms of neuroendocrine tumours are dependent on the affected organ and the kind of hormones that they produce.
For instance, a neuroendocrine tumour in the GI tract may display in the form of digestive issues such as diarrhoea, constipation or abdominal pain. Similarly, symptoms of neuroendocrine tumours affecting the lungs may include cough.
Neuroendocrine tumours causes
The exact cause that leads to the development of neuroendocrine tumours is not well known. Certain factors, however, increase your risk of this cancer including:
- Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1)
- Neurofibromatosis type 1
- Von Hippel-Lindau syndrome (VHL)
Diagnosing neuroendocrine tumours
The diagnosis of neuroendocrine tumours is based on the organs that are being affected and hence the types of symptoms presented. There is a range of tests and procedures that can be used for precise diagnosis.
Common methods include:
- CT scan
- Octreotide scans
Neuroendocrine tumours treatment
Similar to the diagnosis, the treatment of neuroendocrine tumours depends upon the unique symptoms, location or organ of the tumour and age and general health of the patient along with personal and family medical history. The severity of your symptoms is also taken into consideration while deciding on the treatment plan.
Your cancer care team will evaluate your medical history, diagnosis and your condition to help devise a personalised treatment plan. The treatment protocol is usually a combination of various alternatives. These include:
- Radiofrequency ablation