Small Bowel (Intestine)
Large Bowel (Colon)
Neuroendocrine Tumors (NETs), formerly called Carcinoid tumors, can arise from throughout the aerodigestive tract. Carcinoids of the lungs are removed by a thoracic surgeon. NETs of the rest of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract are most commonly from the small intestine, but may also come from the appendix, colon and rectum. They are typically slow growing, insidious tumors. Often, patients have no symptoms until the disease has already spread to the lymph nodes or other organs, such as the liver. NETs may produce hormones or proteins that cause symptoms of flushing, diarrhea, cramping, wheezing, and occasionally, heart problems.
The treatment of these tumors is currently changing rapidly. Vanderbilt is currently building a multidisciplinary effort to treat these tumors. Surgeons, gastroenterologists, radiologists and medical oncologists are all brought together to discuss treatment. Vanderbilt University Medical Center is currently the only program in the U.S. using advanced imaging techniques to research and, ultimately, treat these tumors.
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