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Is a carcinoid tumor cancer?

Carcinoid (originally termed “karzinoide “ by a German pathologist) refers to the “carcinoma-like” feature of these tumors which tend to clinically behave like benign tumors, but have a malignant appearance when viewed under a microscope. Cancers in general are characterized by unregulated growth, tissue invasion, and ability to grow in distant sites of the body (metastasis). Since even very benign behaving carcinoid tumors have the ability to invade other tissues and metastasize to distant organs, they should be treated as low-grade cancers. In general, carcinoid tumors are well-differentiated, slow-growing, and behave in a fairly benign fashion; however, some carcinoid tumors are very aggressive and can spread to many other areas of the body.

Carcinoid tumors can secrete a variety of substances, including serotonin and histamine. Large amounts of these substances can cause flushing, diarrhea, wheezing, and heart valve dysfunction (“Carcinoid Syndrome”).

For more information go to:

  • http://endocrinediseases.org/neuroendocrine/neuroendocrine_background.shtml
  • http://endocrinediseases.org/neuroendocrine/bowel_carcinoids.shtml
  • http://endocrinediseases.org/neuroendocrine/pulmonary_carcinoid.shtml
  • http://endocrinediseases.org/neuroendocrine/gastric_carcinoid.shtml
  • http://www.cancer.org/cancer/gastrointestinalcarcinoidtumor/detailedguide/index

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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.