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Lung Carcinoid Tumors - Stages, Causes, & Symptoms

Medikoe Health Expert

Medikoe Health Expert

  Koramangala, bengaluru, karnataka, india, Bengaluru     Feb 9, 2017

   4 min     


What are Lung Carcinoid Tumors?

If you have been diagnosed with a lung carcinoid tumor, you may wonder what exactly they are or how they are different from other types of cancers that develop in the lungs.

Carcinoid tumors of the lungs are the most uncommon type of lung cancer, and only 1% to 2% of diseases in the lung are carcinoid tumors. These tumors are also called as Neuroendocrine tumors and are usually slow-growing. Lung carcinoid tumors start in neuroendocrine cells when the growth of the cells is out of control. Neuroendocrine cells are a particular type of cells that are found in the lungs as well as other areas of the body. 

Types of Lung Carcinoid Tumors

Well, you need to know what type of carcinoid tumor you have to receive the best suitable treatment plan. Carcinoid tumors are of two types, i.e. Typical Lung Carcinoid Tumors and Atypical Lung Carcinoid Tumors. 

The extent of carcinoid tumors in the lung is mainly characterised as resectable and unresectable tumors. Resectable tumors are those carcinoid tumors that can be removed with surgical procedures, and unresectable tumors are those that cannot be entirely removed with surgical procedures. 

  • Typical Carcinoid Tumors

Typical carcinoid tumors are one of the most common tumors in the lungs. According to the reports, about 9 out of 10 carcinoid tumors are typical. These tumors grow slowly and usually do not spread outside of the lungs. 

  • Atypical Carcinoid Tumors 

The carcinoid tumors that have fast growth and are more likely to spread outside the lungs are called Atypical carcinoid tumors. 

Stages of Carcinoid Tumors in Lung

The stage of the tumor depends on the size of the cancer and whether it has spread to other parts of the body, including the nearby lymph nodes. Carcinoid tumor stages range from 0 to IV, where 0 is the earliest and IV is the most advanced stage. 

If the stage of the tumor is determined, it helps your doctor to create a treatment plan that would work best for you in treating the tumor. 

Causes and Risk Factors of Carcinoid Tumors

However, the causes of carcinoid tumors in the lung are not known; the researchers have found that typical carcinoid tumors are not linked with smoking, air pollutants, and other chemicals. But, atypical lung carcinoid tumors are usually found in people who do smoke. 

When it comes to the risk factors associated with a lung carcinoid tumor, several factors may lead to their occurrence. Some of such risk factors include: 

  • Gender - Carcinoid tumors are known to be more common in women than in men. 

  • Age- These tumors can develop at any age, especially in people 45 to 55 years. 

  • Family Medical History- If you have any family members with lung carcinoid tumors, you may be at higher risk of developing it. 

  • Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Type 1- It is basically an inherited syndrome that increases your chances to develop lung carcinoid tumors. Besides, it may lead to the occurrence of tumors in the pancreas, as well as the pituitary and parathyroid glands. 

Symptoms of Lung Carcinoid Tumors 

Carcinoid tumors often do not have any signs and symptoms until the disease has developed. These tumors can produce as well as release hormones that cause some of the common symptoms, including skin flushing and diarrhoea.

When carcinoid tumor does occur in the lungs, some of the vague signs and symptoms that you may notice include: 

  • Chest pain 

  • Wheezing

  • Breath shortness

  • Skin Flushing (redness or a warmth feeling in your neck and face)

  • Pink or purple-coloured marks on the skin that looks similar to stretch marks

  • Sudden weight gain, particularly around the upper back and midsection

Sometimes, carcinoid tumors result in a condition called carcinoid syndrome, which is mainly due to the release of hormones by the cancer cells. Several disorders can cause the symptoms of carcinoid syndrome; thus, it is essential to visit your doctor to identify the actual cause of the symptoms. 

Diagnosis of Lung Carcinoid Tumor 

While diagnosing the carcinoid tumor in your lungs, your doctor may ask you certain things, including your medical history, your family history, etc. Further, several tests will be performed for diagnosing the lung carcinoid tumor. Some of these tests include CT Scans, Blood tests, Urine tests, Chest X-Rays, Biopsy, and many others. 

Medical Treatments for Lung Carcinoid Tumor 

There is no medical therapy to treat a lung carcinoid tumor. Surgery is known to be the primary treatment options for carcinoid tumor in the lungs, whether typical or atypical. If your tumor cannot be removed with the surgical procedures, your healthcare provider may recommend a particular type of chemotherapy. Besides, certain drugs may help in easing the symptoms caused by the hormones released by the cancer cells and may slow their growth. If other treatment options are not suitable for you, a clinical trial may be an option. 

Tags:  cancer,Lung infection,carcinoid tumor treatment, lung carcinoid tumor staging, carcinoid syndrome, carcinoid tumor diagnosis, lung carcinoid tumor risk factors

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