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Nearly 12,000 people in the United States are diagnosed each year with carcinoid tumors, which also are called neuroendocrine tumors. The number of people with carcinoid tumors has been increasing in recent years. This probably is because of the increase of endoscopy and CT scans to screen for or diagnose other issues.
This slow-growing type of cancer can start in any part of the body that has neuroendocrine cells. These cells receive signals from the nervous system and then release hormones into the blood. Carcinoid tumors are most common in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and the lungs.
The average age of people diagnosed with carcinoid tumors is the early 60s. Carcinoid tumors are more common in African-Americans than in whites. They are slightly more common in women than men. A GI carcinoid tumor makes you more likely to have other digestive system cancers.
Carcinoid Tumor Risk Factors
Anything that increases your chance of getting a carcinoid tumor is a risk factor. These include:
- Conditions that affect how the stomach makes digestive juices, including atrophic gastritis, pernicious anemia or Zollinger-Ellison syndrome.
- Family history of a rare syndrome called multiple endocrine neoplasia 1 (MEN1)
- Race: African-Americans are more likely to develop carcinoid tumors in certain areas of the body than whites
- Gender: Carcinoid tumors are slightly more common in women
- Smoking tobacco
Not everyone with risk factors gets carcinoid tumors. However, if you have risk factors, you should discuss them with your doctor.
Learn more about carcinoid tumors:
Why choose MD Anderson for carcinoid tumor treatment?
MD Anderson’s Gastrointestinal Center gives you exemplary, customized carcinoid tumor care every step of the way. As one of the nation’s largest cancer centers, MD Anderson sees more patients with this complex type of cancer than most others, which translates into more successful outcomes for carcinoid tumors.
As one of the world’s largest cancer research centers, MD Anderson is leading the investigation into new methods of carcinoid tumor diagnosis and treatment. For instance, our researchers are studying carcinoid tumors on a molecular basis to try to find a cause.
Our status as a premier research center means we can offer clinical trials (research studies) of new treatments for carcinoid tumors. MD Anderson researchers have led the development of novel treatment strategies, including targeting of mTOR (a protein) and angiogenesis (growth of new blood vessels) in neuroendocrine tumors (including carcinoid tumors). MD Anderson researchers were involved from proof-of-concept single institution phase II to multi-national phase III studies.
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Many cancers can be prevented with lifestyle changes and regular screening.
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