Neuroendocrine tumors is the abnormal growth of cells in the neuroendocrine system. Mostly affects the lungs, gastrointestinal tract, and pancreatic glands. The symptoms and treatment often depend on the location and type.
A tumor an be said to be an abnormal growth in cells forming a mass, which could be malignant–can become big and spread, or benign–can grow but does not spread.
WHAT IS NEUROENDOCRINE TUMOR?
Neuroendocrine tumor simply means the abnormal increase or growth in the specialized cells of the neuroendocrine system.
The neuroendocrine system is responsible for producing hormone substances that generate special influences on the activity of the body, and they are also nerve cells.
Although tumors may develop slowly, most neuroendocrine tumors are malignant tumors. It could affect any part of the body including:
About 30% of most neuroendocrine tumors occur here, especially, the bronchial system, with most of them being carcinoid tumors.
- Gastrointestinal Tract
This is the most common site for neuroendocrine tumor development, especially, the small intestine. 20% of neuroendocrine tumor occurs in the large intestine, 19% in the small intestine, and 4% in the appendix.
The pancreas, located between the stomach and the spine in the abdomen, has approximately, 7% of neuroendocrine tumors growing here. It is also called islet cell tumors because it occurs at the islet of the pancreas.
However, neuroendocrine tumors may start in any part of the body including the adrenal gland, rectum, etc.
Over 12,000 to 175,000 persons are said to be diagnosed with neuroendocrine tumors and it is still on the rise. This estimation was done by the cancer net editorial board based on annual data.
TYPES OF NEUROENDOCRINE TUMORS
The neuroendocrine hormones can be classified after their location or the hormone they produce. They include:
- Carcinoid Tumors
They are formed mostly in the digestive system, which includes the stomach, small intestine, appendix, and rectum. Although sometimes they can be found in the lungs or the thymus. They rarely grow in the gonads, pancreas, kidney.
- Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors
These tumors include:
- Insulinomas; cells produce the hormone insulin that is responsible for controlling blood sugar levels, which is mostly benign.
- Glucagonomas; cells that produce glucagon, which increases the blood sugar level in the body. They are often malignant or cancerous.
- Gastrinomas; cells responsible for making the gastrin hormone that aids in digestion. They are cancerous and occur in Zollinger-Ellison syndrome.
- VIPomas; cells responsible for the secretion of vasoactive intestinal peptides(VIP). Most VIPomas are cancerous.
- Medullary carcinoma; found mostly at the thyroid gland – a gland that secrets thyroid hormone. This growth could affect calcium regulation in the body.
Pheochromocytoma; occurs in the adrenal gland, which is responsible for adrenaline and noradrenaline secretion. They are usually benign
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