Small Intestine Cancer

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Cancerous cells are mutated cells that turn malignant in the small bowel. The signs are similar to other bowel inflammation diseases and should be diagnosed if you want to be treated on time to get rid of complications and aid survival. The small intestine, also called the small bowel, is a part of the digestive […] Read More

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Small Intestine Cancer

Cancerous cells are mutated cells that turn malignant in the small bowel. The signs are similar to other bowel inflammation diseases and should be diagnosed if you want to be treated on time to get rid of complications and aid survival.

The small intestine, also called the small bowel, is a part of the digestive system which breaks down your food and absorbs the necessary nutrients needed in your body.

Small intestine cancer happens when the cells or tissues of the linings in the small bowel begin to alter their form and grow malignant. These malignant cells swell into a mass of tumors and spread to other parts of the intestine. 

Types of Small Intestine Cancer

Based on location, small intestine cancer has five major types. They include:

  • Adenocarcinomas

This cancer starts with the cells in the lining tissues of the small intestine called the secretory cells. These cells which are responsible for producing digestive juices begin to develop polyps, which are small noncancerous growths, and as they keep growing, they turn into cancer.

  • Sarcomas

This type of cancer starts in the soft tissues of the small intestine. Cancerous cells grow in the bones and soft tissues like muscles, cartilages, and fibrous connective tissues.

  • Carcinoid Tumors

This type of cancer grows in the lower section of the small bowel and critical case affects your rectum and/or appendix. It may also spread to the liver and other parts of the body. Cancer consists of slow-growing tumors and expels body chemicals that can harm the body.

  • Lymphomas

This cancer begins in the lymph nodes–which are the cells of the immune system–in the small intestine. The nodes swell and become cancerous.  It often occurs in people who have immunity deficiencies with a weakened defense system that cannot fight against infections.

  • Gastrointestinal stromal tumours. 

This type of cancer forms in the inner walls of the stomach. However, not all of these tumours are cancerous and they are the rarest form of small bowel cancer.


Risk factors

The factors that are likely to increase the risk and chances of you getting small intestinal cancer include:

  • Family Trait

Most times, gene mutations are inherited and passed through the family via genetic strands. This can be a reason why you have a high risk of having cancers.

  • Bowel Diseases

Diseases that attack the digestive tracts and intestines like inflammatory bowel disease can increase your risk of having small bowel disease.

  • Immunodeficiency

If you have a weakened immune system, you have a chance of developing small bowel cancer since your immune is too weak to fight against bacteria, viruses which can cause inflammation, or against the mutation of a cell. Like in a case of HIV or as a result of the anti-rejection drugs taken after you have gotten an organ transplant.

  • Age

This cancer is very hard to come across, but it is usually diagnosed in people more than 60 years of age.

  • Gender

This cancer happens more in males than it does in females.

  1. Smoking and alcoholic drinks which can cause inflammation.
  2. High fat and calorie intake.
  3. Working or living in areas with plenty of chemical substances.

Possible Complications

The main risk or complications that may arise if the small bowel intestine is not taken care of on time is the spread of cancer to other parts of your body. As the cells continue to mutate and spread out damaging other healthy cells, these cells become cancerous and with time, more parts of your body can be affected with cancer other than your small bowel.

Survival Rate

Research has kept the survival rate of small bowel cancer at 5 years and the percentage of a victim surviving in 5 years is dependent on how early you treated cancer.

If detected and treated early, the survival rate stands at 87%. I discovered when it has spread to surrounding cells or organs, the rate stands at 76%. I discovered when it has spread too far areas of the body, your 5-year chance is at 42%

Diagnosis

The above-mentioned symptoms can often be confused with other gastrointestinal diseases like inflammatory bowel disease. When you begin to notice the signs, do well to consult a doctor.

On consultation, your doctor will go through your medical and family history to find out the chances you have, but these are assumptions. The doctor will have to carry out some tests to be able to diagnose the health challenge.

Several tests can be used to give diagnoses. They include:

  • Blood tests
  • Imaging tests such as X-rays, MRI scans, and CT scans.
  • Biopsy; examine a small part of the intestine or lymph node after scraping it out.
  • Endoscopic tests such as upper endoscopy, capsule barium, colonoscopy, etc.
  • Laparotomy.

Treatment

Early treatment of all types of cancer is what increases your chance of recovery. So it is best you are diagnosed on time and treated as fast as possible.

Before the treatment of small bowel cancer is given, some questions are put into consideration:

  1. Has cancer spread to other parts of the body?
  2. Was cancer in remission or a new diagnosis?
  3. Is cancer removable?

Based on the answers to these questions, the doctor can know what treatment to give. The two main treatments are:

  • Surgery

This is performed to remove the cancerous tumors from the affected areas. Also, bypass surgery can be conducted when the tumors can not be removed. This bypass surgery is used to change the direction of food around the tumor to prevent malnutrition.

  • Chemotherapy

Chemo can be given after surgery to prevent the tumors from coming up again or given after diagnoses to kill mutating cells and put cancer in remission.

  • Radiation Therapy

A high energy X-ray that kills cancerous cells.

Prevention

Since there are several risk factors, there are ways to reduce your risk of getting small bowel cancer. Even if it is not fully guaranteed because it is mostly genetic, these methods can control the risk. They include:

  • Eating healthily

Eat a lot of fruits and vegetables to boost your immunity, provide you nutrients, and to enable your combat again dangerous cells. Avoid foods that contain a lot of fat and cholesterols as they can inflame the gastrointestinal tract.

  1. Limit your alcohol intake if you cannot stop it.
  2. Quit smoking.
  3. Relieve stress, perform regular therapeutic exercises.

Symptoms

The signs of small intestine cancer include:

  • Abdominal pains and cramps
  • Appetite loss
  • Exhaustion/Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Weight loss
  • Bloated stomach or lumps on the stomach
  • Diarrhoea
  • Bloody stools
  • Anaemia
  • Jaundice; characterized by yellowing skin and eyes.

 

Causes

Generally, small bowel cancer is caused by the mutation in the DNA of healthy cells in your small bowel. The DNA of these cells suddenly gets damaged and they begin to grow and divide when they aren't needed and in an unhealthy manner. They grow into tumors and amass, becoming cancerous, then spreading out into other parts by destroying other healthy tissues.

FAQ

  • What foods cause polyps?

Polyps are the first forms of cancer. They are not cancerous, but as mutated cells keep growing and forming polyps, with time the amassed volume of these polyps turn cancerous.

Foods that cause cells to produce polyps include; fatty foods, foods with high cholesterol, red meats, and processed meats.

  • Do polyps grow back?

Often, when polyps are detected, it is advisable to operate on them and take them out before they turn cancerous. When a polyp is removed, it is hard for it to develop on the exact spot it was taken out from again, rather it can grow in other parts of the body, and this is because the factors that made them grow before are still in play.

  • Can you survive small intestine cancer?

Research has kept the survival rate of small bowel cancer at 5 years and the percentage of a victim surviving in 5 years is dependent on how early you treated cancer.

If detected and treated early, the survival rate stands at 87%. I discovered when it has spread to surrounding cells or organs, the rate stands at 76%. I discovered when it has spread too far areas of the body, your 5-year chance is at 42%

  • How much of your small intestine can be removed?

The small incentive is regenerating and very adaptable. Removing 40% of the organ changes little as the process of digestion will still be possible. However, when more than 40% is removed, especially some crucial parts, complications can arise which might lead to the death of the intestine.

  • How long is recovery from small intestine surgery?

Once the surgery is performed, you can return on the same day or a day after the surgery. You can pick up mild activities after 8 to 10 days and can return to normal activities after 3 to 4 weeks.