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Neuroendocrine Tumor - All You Need To Know About Its Treatment!

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Ravindra Chhajed 89% (338 ratings)
MBBS, FCPS - Medicine, DNB - General Medicine (I)
Diabetologist, Pune  •  23 years experience
Neuroendocrine Tumor - All You Need To Know About Its Treatment!

There are several hormones that are secreted by our bodies and they can be defined as chemicals that control the different bodily functions. At times, the cells that secrete the hormones develop tumors. Some areas where these tumors are known to arise include lungs, stomach, pancreas, glands, or intestines.

If you are diagnosed with a neuroendocrine tumor, it is important to learn whether they are benign or cancerous. Neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) are neoplasms that may result from the cells of the nervous and the endocrine system. If the cells are cancerous, they can spread throughout the body. Also, they release their own hormones and you may experience the associated symptoms. On the other hand, the benign tumors do not shift from their place of origin.

However, you should note that the growth of a neuroendocrine tumor takes place at a sluggish rate; sometimes, they could take years to grow. Normally, the medical experts will advise their removal or administer varied treatments for their shrinkage. Also, some therapies to alleviate the symptoms can be practiced.

NETs are categorized into varied groups depending on their area of growth or the hormones they secrete. The different types of NETs include Carcinoid (intestinal), Pancreatic, Insulinomas, Glucagonomas, Somatostatinomas, VIPomas, Medullary, and Pheochromocytoma. The medical professionals have not been able to ascertain the exact cause for NETs as yet. However, they opine that certain illnesses that run in a family are responsible for these growths. For ascertaining whether a person has developed NETs, a medical diagnosis is required. Mostly, the patients do not display symptoms and the disorder is detected fortuitously.

There are various treatments available for NETs, including drugs, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery. The patients are treated depending on the type of NETs they are affected by. Also, the doctors will try to establish whether the growths are cancerous, and have spread to other parts of the body prior to treating the patients.

Treatment Methods:

The following are some of the treatment options available for NETs:

  1. Surgery: Surgical methods are employed by the doctors for removing the tumors; predominantly, if the tumors are not cancerous or have not spread to the different parts of the body. Some surgeries that are performed by the doctors as a part of the treatment of NETs include cryosurgery and radiofrequency ablation.
  2. Hormonal therapy: If the doctors find it suitable, they will treat you with hormone therapy when NETs are detected in your body. In this case, they will inject hormonal drugs for preventing the cells from producing hormones or to shrink the tumor.
  3. Radiation: As a part of radiation therapy, the doctors will subject the tumor site to high radiation X-rays for eliminating the cancerous cells. If cancer has spread or the specialists are not able to reach the tumors, then this treatment method is known to be effective.
  4. Chemotherapy: You may be prescribed chemotherapy drugs for killing the cancerous cells, at times, after being diagnosed with NETs. However, they give birth to certain ill-effects and it is always better to adhere to your doctor’s suggestions to be on the safer side.
  5. Embolization Procedures: In specific cases where the NETs have spread to the liver, the doctors will aim to obstruct the blood flow that provides nourishment to the cells. Embolization therapy is performed in such cases.

When recovering from NETs, you must make sure to consume a balanced diet to keep the body nourished and heightening the body’s ability to counter the illnesses. Eating protein-rich foods such as beans, eggs, cheese, and fish are recommended. Also, avoid the intake of fatty foods, sugar-filled beverages, and sweets.

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