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Appendix Cancer Facts

Our Approach

Cathy Eng, M.D., FACP, is overseeing clinical trials for new targeted therapies to treat appendix cancer.

When you are treated in MD Anderson’s Gastrointestinal Center for appendix cancer, some of the nation’s top experts focus all their expertise on you. They work together closely and communicate often to be sure you receive the most advanced personalized care with the least impact on your body.

And, they have at their fingertips the latest technology and techniques to treat appendix cancer, including specialized surgical and chemotherapy options. Surgery is often the main therapy for appendix cancer, and the skill of the surgeon is an important part of your successful treatment. MD Anderson’s surgeons are among the most experienced in the nation in the delicate procedure.

As one of the nation’s most active cancer centers, MD Anderson sees more appendix cancer cases than most oncologists. This gives us an exceptional level of expertise that often gives you higher chances for successful treatment.

Innovation and Support

Because we are one of the nation’s leading research centers, we’re able to offer clinical trials (research studies) of experimental treatments of groundbreaking drugs and delivery methods for every type and stage of appendix cancer.

And, at MD Anderson you’re surrounded by the strength of one of the nation’s largest and most experienced comprehensive cancer centers, which has all the support and wellness services needed to treat the whole person – not just the disease.

If you have been diagnosed with appendix cancer, it is important to be seen by expert doctors. Call 1-877-632-6789 to make an appointment or request an appointment online.

Why Choose MD Anderson?

  • Highly skilled surgeons perform the most-advanced procedures to treat appendix cancer
  • Specialized appendix cancer chemotherapy options, including hyperthermic intraperitoneal (HIPEC) chemotherapy
  • More experience with this complex cancer than most oncologists
  • Clinical trials of new therapies for appendix cancer

Appendix Cancer Knowledge Center

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Appendix Cancer Facts

Appendix cancer is diagnosed in fewer than 1,000 Americans each year.

The appendix is part of the digestive system, and it is located close to where the large intestine and small intestine come together. Tumors in the appendix may be interpreted as malignant (cancer) or benign (not cancer). Given the rarity of this disease, we would encourage you to have the pathology formally reviewed and seek the advice of specialists in the treatment of appendix cancer.

Most cases of appendix cancer are found when a person has surgery for another condition. Almost half are found during surgery for acute appendicitis; others are discovered when an abdominal mass is seen during a CT scan for an unrelated condition.

The outcome for appendix cancer depends a great deal on the size of the tumor. When the tumor is smaller than 2 centimeters, the cancer is less likely to spread. However, when tumors are larger they generally require more aggressive treatment and are more dangerous.

Appendix Cancer Types

Appendix cancer is classified by the type of cells within the tumor. The main types are:

Carcinoid tumors: About half of appendix cancers are carcinoid tumors. Carcinoid tumors are most often found in women in their 40s. Most carcinoid tumors are small, and they often can be treated successfully.

Non-carcinoid tumors: These tumors begin in the epithelial cells that line the inside of the appendix. Most epithelial cells produce mucin, a gelatinous material. These tumors have a tendency to spread, and the success of treatment depends on several factors.

Pseudomyxoma peritonei (PMP): Mucin within the abdomen has few tumor cells, but cells may spread outside the appendix into the abdomen.

Adenocarcinoid tumors, also known as goblet cell carcinomas, have characteristics similar to both carcinoid and adenocarcinoma tumors of the appendix. Most patients are diagnosed in their 50s.

If you have been diagnosed with appendix cancer, it is important to be seen by expert doctors. Call 1-877-632-6789 to make an appointment or request an appointment online.

© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center