Appendix cancer causes are not well understood. Scientists have established that tumors can form in the appendix when its cells undergo abnormal changes and multiply at a very rapid pace. The excess cells can build up and form a tumor, which can potentially spread to other tissues and organs. There are no known causes of this abnormal cellular development.
Because there are also no reliable screening tests for this rare condition, which often produces no symptoms in its early stages, appendix cancer is often found incidentally after an individual seeks medical attention for vague abdominal pain. The cancer may be detected through diagnostic imaging scans or discovered during surgery to treat what was initially believed to be appendicitis. Sometimes, a pathological review of the organ will reveal evidence of a previously undetected cancerous tumor.
For these reasons, symptoms like severe abdominal pain, bloating and diarrhea should never be ignored. Of course, these symptoms are very common and are usually linked to much less serious causes. Nevertheless, one of the few ways to detect appendix cancer is to pay close attention to and see a physician promptly about symptoms like these – especially if they do not go away on their own after a few days.
What are the risk factors of appendix cancer?
As research continues, more is being learned about the causes of appendix cancer, and scientists have already identified several possible risk factors. While risk factors do not directly cause cancer, it is important to be aware of them and discuss them with a physician. Some risk factors for appendix cancer include:
- A family history of appendix cancer or multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1) syndrome
- Certain conditions that affect the stomach’s ability to produce acid, such as pernicious anemia, atrophic gastritis and Zollinger-Ellison syndrome
The outstanding research team in the Gastrointestinal Oncology Program at Moffitt Cancer Center has received national recognition for its landmark discoveries and robust clinical trials program, both of which are helping us to expand our knowledge base and learn more about appendix cancer causes every single day. With a unique bench-to-bedside approach, our goal is to quickly translate our newly acquired knowledge into preventive, diagnostic and treatment strategies that benefit our patients. For these reasons and others, Moffitt has been designated a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute, and we have earned the respect of our peers and patients across the nation.
If you’d like to learn more about possible appendix cancer causes, the experts at Moffitt will be pleased to answer your questions and discuss your individual risk profile. Call 1-888-663-3488 or complete a new patient registration form online. No referrals are required.