Carcinoid tumors are slowly growing malignant tumors, most often found in the wall of the small intestine. They produce extensive systemic symptoms through elaboration of certain chemicals. Carcinoids are responsible for the secretion of serotonin, histamine, prostaglandins and hormones. Initially, these tumors appear in the appendix, ileum, rectum, ovaries or stomach. The cancer may spread and cause symptoms that affect the skin, blood vessels, kidney, gastrointestinal tract, liver, heart, lungs, spleen, pancreas and ovaries.
Causes of Carcinoid Syndrome
Signs and Symptoms of Carcinoid Syndrome
Two types of symptoms may develop from Carcinoid tumors. First, they may cause local symptoms, often by obstruction of a portion of the intestinal tract. This can lead to abdominal pain, usually in the umbilical region. Nausea, vomiting and abdominal swelling may occur. Weight loss may develop. When the cancer spreads to other parts of the body, the mass of tumor present will be sufficient to produce secondary hormonal symptoms. These include flushed skin on the head and neck, watery eyes, diarrhea and abdominal cramps. Sometimes there is wheezing and difficulty breathing, rapid or irregular heart rate, low blood pressure and unexplained weight loss. Certain factors may trigger symptoms of secondary tumors. These include heavy exercise, alcohol consumption, and eating bananas, tomatoes, plums, avocados, pineapple or walnuts.
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Medical Content Last Updated on 07/12/2008
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