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Carcinoid Tumors

  201-227-6008    |      cancer@holyname.org

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Carcinoid tumors are slow growing cancers that typically start in the digestive tract or the lungs, but can develop throughout the body. Frequently, they don't produce symptoms in the early stages but late in the disease, may produce hormones that cause flushing of the face, difficulty breathing and diarrhea.

Approximately 8,000 new cases of carcinoid tumors are diagnosed each year in the United States and the incidence seems to be rising. The average age of patients with carcinoid tumors is 60.

The Patricia Lynch Cancer Center (PLCC) at Holy Name is a national leader in the treatment and care of carcinoid tumors, including proficiency in the use of Gallium- 68 Scanning. This painless test to locate the site of tumors is the most advanced detection technique worldwide for carcinoid tumors.

Carcinoid tumors can also occur in the appendix. They rarely spread, and, often, an appendectomy (removing the appendix) is sufficient to treat this type of tumor.

The PLCC has a multi-disciplinary team of experienced and skilled medical oncologists, surgical oncologists, radiologists, nurses and support staff to treat carcinoid tumors. Together they provide a compassionate, unified approach in creating a personal strategy for each patient's unique medical, emotional and lifestyle needs.


  • Skin flushing
  • Diarrhea
  • Shortness of breath or wheezing
  • Abdominal pain
  • Weight gain
  • Pink or purple skin lesions that look like stretch marks
  • Rectal bleeding

Risk Factors

  • Older age
  • Female
  • Family history of multiple endocrine neoplasia 1 (MEN1)


  • Physical exam
  • Blood and urine tests
  • Nuclear medicine scans, Gallium-68 Scan/ PET - a dye is injected through an IV to locate the tumors
  • CT scan
  • MRI
  • Endoscopy/Bronchoscopy
  • Biopsy


Treatment of carcinoid tumors varies based on the stage of the disease. When the tumor is diagnosed at an early stage, surgery is typically used and the cure rate is high. For more advanced tumors, radiation therapy and hormonal based therapy may be used for symptomatic relief. Chemotherapy is typically not very effective in treating carcinoid tumors.