- by Oncology India
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- Apr 11 2018
What are the types of neuroendocrine tumors (NETs)?
An endocrine system is made up of cells that produce hormones which are important for activating specific functions of other organs or cells in the body. A tumor on the endocrine system can be very fatal. A tumor is when healthy cells change their mechanism of multiplication and grow out of control, forming a mass. It can be malignant (can grow and spread to other parts of the body) or benign (does not spread).
An endocrine tumor cell produces and releases hormones which can cause serious illness like cancer, this phenomenon can also lead to a neuroendocrine tumor. A neuroendocrine tumor begins in the hormone-producing cells of the neuroendocrine system and can be fatal to one’s life. A neuroendocrine system is made up hormone-producing endocrine cells and nerve cells.
Types of NETs
NETs can form anywhere in the body and are named based on where they grow.
1. Carcinoid tumor
They are a type of NET that grows in the:
• Ovaries or testicles (very rare).
• The digestive system which involves the stomach, small intestine, colon, or rectum.
It forms in the adrenal glands. Adrenal glands produce hormones like adrenaline and noradrenaline, which controls many bodily functions like heart rate, blood pressure, and blood sugar.
Pheochromocytomas is not a cancer but the tumor cells can amplify the hormones that result in heart problems such as a heart attack or stroke.
3. Pancreatic NETs
It starts in the islet cells of the pancreas. It can be "functional" or "non-functional." Functional tumors show symptoms because it makes their own hormones while non-functional tumors don't show any symptoms, but they can grow and spread to other places in the body.
4. Merkel cell carcinoma
It is a rare type of skin cancer which can spread easily. It starts mostly from the sunlight exposed areas, such as your head, neck, arms, and legs.
5. Medullary carcinoma
This tumor starts from the thyroid gland cells (they release calcitonin, a hormone that controls the level of calcium levels in the body) and it can spread quickly.
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