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Department of Communications
Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc.
385 Bouchard Blvd.
Dorval, Quebec H9S 1A9

Carcinoid Tumors

How are carcinoid tumors diagnosed?

Doctors often have difficulty diagnosing carcinoid syndrome in its early stages. There are several reasons for this. Most of the symptoms are fairly common, and they’re “non-specific,” meaning similar to symptoms that can be caused by many things. Flushing, for example, can be a menopausal symptom, a reaction to alcohol, or the side effect of a drug.

How are carcinoid tumors treated?

As with any chronic condition, the key to the best possible treatment outcome in carcinoid syndrome is taking control. You need to understand that you have the condition, that it is treatable, and that your decisions can make a difference. You can change your world and help to live a fuller, more active life. Your decision to get treatment can lead not only to effective control of symptoms, but may also help prevent potentially dangerous complications. You and your health care provider will determine the treatment plan that works best for you.

Where can I learn more about carcinoid tumors?

What are the symptoms of carcinoid tumors?

If you have been diagnosed with carcinoid syndrome, you already have firsthand experience of at least some of the symptoms. In a sense, you are fortunate, because, as you know, many of the early symptoms of carcinoid syndrome are difficult to diagnose, and many people live with the symptoms for years before learning what the problem is. Identifying the symptoms of carcinoid syndrome early is a benefit in fighting the condition.

Symptoms include:

  • Flushing
  • Diarrhea
  • Heart valvular lesions
  • Cramping
  • Telangiectasia
  • Peripheral edema
  • Wheezing
  • Cyanosis
  • Arthritis
  • Pellagra

What do I need to talk to my doctor about?

If you have recently been diagnosed with carcinoid syndrome, you may want to ask your doctor:

  • What is the stage of my carcinoid tumor?
  • How are carcinoid tumors different from other cancers?
  • Do I need treatment right away?
  • What are my treatment options?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of each treatment option?
  • How will each treatment affect my daily life?
  • How will you be monitoring my condition (ie, CgA levels, 5-HIAA levels)?
  • How often should this be conducted?
  • How will we keep my gut hormone levels under control?
  • Should I alter my diet?