The symptoms of a gastrointestinal (GI) carcinoid tumor depend largely on the location of the tumor. Additionally, it is important to note that this type of cancer can often go undetected as the tumor grows, and if it does cause symptoms, they often mimic symptoms that can be explained by other illnesses. Furthermore, this type of tumor is quite rare, making it difficult for many physicians to diagnose. As a result, gastrointestinal carcinoid tumors are often uncovered unexpectedly during routine exams.
Gastrointestinal carcinoid tumors develop in the lining of the GI tract. These tumors can cause problems when they lead to blockages and otherwise interfere with normal digestion. They are also unique in that they can release hormone-like substances that enter the blood stream, which can cause carcinoid syndrome that can also cause symptoms.
Gastrointestinal carcinoid tumors become symptomatic when they reach the liver or other internal organs. The most common signs and symptoms of gastrointestinal carcinoid tumors include:
- Redness or a feeling of warmth in the face or neck
- Severe diarrhea
- An accelerated heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
- Abdominal pain or fullness
- Swelling of the feet or ankles
If you experience any of these symptoms or have recently been diagnosed with a gastrointestinal carcinoid tumor, Moffitt Cancer Center’s gastrointestinal carcinoid tumor team is able to help. We have a full range of diagnostic tools available to confirm your diagnosis and determine the extent of your cancer. With this information, our team can determine the right treatment options for you, which may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation oncology, interventional radiology and supportive care. We also are a designated Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute, allowing us to support landmark research in clinical trials and offer leading-edge therapies.