Neuroendocrine tumours (NETs) grow in cells that communicate with the nervous system and hormone-producing glands. Neuroendocrine cells can be found all over the body, but NETs are most commonly found in the abdomen, especially in the gastrointestinal tract. Tumours in the lungs, pancreas and adrenal glands are also possible. Merkel cell carcinoma is a form of skin cancer that is also classified as neuroendocrine cancer.
NETs are complicated and difficult to diagnose, in addition to being rare. That’s why it’s important to receive expert care from Dr. Sanjoy Mandal, who has extensive expertise in cancer treatment in Kolkata. NETs are all called cancerous tumours. The majority of NETs take years to develop and expand. Some NETs, on the other hand, may be rapidly increasing.
Causes of Neuroendocrine Tumours
There is no single reason for NETs, nor are there any specific risk factors. However, there are some factors that can increase a person’s risk of having a neuroendocrine tumour, such as:
- Syndromes that are inherited: MEN1 (multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1) is a genetic disease linked to certain types of NETs, such as lung, GI tract, and pancreatic NETs. Von Hippel-Lindau syndrome, neurofibromatosis type 1, multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 (MEN2), and tuberous sclerosis complex are all genetic disorders linked to NETs, says the oncology specialist in Kolkata.
- Other medical conditions: People with such illnesses are more likely to acquire particular forms of NETs. People with diseases that affect the stomach and reduce acid production, for example, are more likely to develop a stomach NET.
Symptoms and Signs
The symptoms of a NET tumour vary depending on where the tumour is located and whether the NET is functional or non-functional. The occurrence of clinical symptoms attributable to the tumour’s excessive hormone secretion classifies functional NETs. Hormones are not secreted by non-functional NETs, which can cause symptoms due to the tumour’s progression.
According to the oncology surgeon in Kolkata, symptoms that are commonly experienced by people with NETs include:
- Persistent pain or discomfort in a specific part of the body
- Flushing in the neck or face
- Changes in bowel habits
- Vomiting or nausea
- Lump in a specific area of the body
- Unexplained weight loss
- Weakness or fatigue
- A feeling of fullness, abdominal cramping
- Anxiety and confusion
- Unusual discharge or bleeding
- Persistent coughing, wheezing, or hoarseness
Treatment of Neuroendocrine Tumours
NETs may be treated in a variety of ways, as suggested by the best cancer surgeon in Kolkata, are:
- Surgical procedure: It’s possible that minimally invasive procedures like laparoscopy or laparotomy would be prescribed, either to remove the entire tumour or to reduce its mass if it can’t be fully removed. For advanced-stage disease, mesenteric resections for small bowel tumours and cytoreductive surgery may be advised.
- Chemotherapy: Dr. Mandal may suggest chemotherapy, which is a class of drugs that are intended to stop cancer cells from growing in order to kill them.
- Interventional radiology: The oncologist may also recommend interventional radiology, which involves performing minimally invasive procedures with the help of medical imaging guidance, such as magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography, and x-ray fluoroscopy.