About neuroendocrine tumors (NET)
Neuroendocrine tumors, or NETs, are a rare type of cancer. NETs may arise in different tissues and organs through the body that contain neuroendocrine cells. Neuroendocrine cells are found in the nervous system and the endocrine system. These two systems work together to keep your body functioning.
Different types of NETs cause different symptoms. Carcinoid syndrome occurs in some patients with NETs. It is associated with hormone and other biochemical secretion by the tumor. The most common signs and symptoms of carcinoid syndrome include flushing and diarrhea.
Diagnosis and treatment of NETs
It is important to accurately diagnose and manage your disease. Your doctor may perform a series of tests to diagnose NETs. These include imaging and biochemical tests. Be sure to talk to your doctor about an appropriate treatment plan once you have been diagnosed.
Questions to ask your doctor
When you are diagnosed with NET, you may want to ask your doctor questions like these about your diagnosis and your treatment plan:
- What type of NET do I have?
- What stage is my NET?
- What are my treatment choices?
- What are the expected benefits of each kind of treatment?
- What are the risks of each treatment?
- What are the side effects of each treatment?
- How will we know if this is working?
- How will each treatment affect my daily life?
- Are there new treatments or clinical trials that I should consider?
- What are the chances of the cancer coming back again?
- What are my chances of being cured?
Treatment of Pancreatic NET (pNET)
The site of origin, or primary tumor site, is one way that doctors classify NETs. Pancreatic NETs, or pNETs, occurs in the pancreas. The treatment of pNET depends on a number of factors, including the type of cancer cell, where the tumor is located in the pancreas, if the tumor has spread to multiple places in the pancreas or to other parts of your body, your general health and whether the cancer is newly diagnosed or recurring.
Drug treatments that target mTOR, a protein that acts as an important regulator of tumor cell division, have shown to reduce the risk of cancer progression in patients with pNET. Discuss your treatment options with your physician.