Are gastrointestinal carcinoid tumors serious?

Ajay K. Sahajpal, MD
Transplant Surgery

Gastrointestinal carcinoids are often slow growing tumors, however they can be serious as they grow and release hormones and cause scarring/fibrosis. They can often present with intestinal blockages/obstructions and can spread/metastasize to the liver and cause hormone release with symptoms.

Fortunately if identified early, they can be evaluated and considered for removal for potential cure and if already metastasized, can be considered for combination therapy/surgery to delay progression/symptom control.

Gastrointestinal carcinoid tumors are a slow-growing but serious form of cancer. If detected before it spreads past the digestive tract, it can often be cured by surgically removing the tumor. However, this cancer can spread to the liver and cause carcinoid syndrome, with symptoms including diarrhea, intestinal cramps, and breathing problems. People whose gastrointestinal carcinoid tumor has spread to the liver may live up to 15 years with treatment, but they can rarely be cured.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.