Small intestinal cancer is a very uncommon and rare disease. A condition when the cells continue to divide without any restriction and control in the small intestine is referred to as small intestine cancer. These extra cells lead to the formation of a large mass called a tumor.
The other name for the small intestine Is also called small bowel. It helps to attach the stomach with the large bowel or intestine. The main and vital function of the small intestine is to break and absorb fats, vitamins, and many other nutrients that are useful for the body. In the case of the small intestine, the tumor causes the obstruction or blockage of the small intestine.
There are a total of five different types of intestinal cancer:
- Adenocarcinomas: Almost thirty to forty percent of patients are reported for this cancer. This type of cancer begins in the wall or lining of the small bowel. Initially, it appears as a harmless, non-malignant mass knows as a polyp, but with time, it becomes cancerous.
- Carcinoid tumors: This is a type of cancer that has a very slow progression. It is mostly diagnosed in the lowest portion of the small bowel. It can also reach your rectum or appendix. A wide quantity of hormones such as serotonin is released from these tumors.
- Sarcoma: These cancerous cells reside and grow in the soft tissues of the small bowel.
- Gastrointestinal stromal tumors: This is a very rare type of small intestine cancer. It only starts in the abdomen. Not all these tumors are malignant.
- Intestinal lymphomas: Cancer that begins in the lymph nodes is known as lymphoma. People with different immunodeficiency disorders have higher chances to develop this type. This indicates that the defense system of your body is very weak and can’t protect your body from germs and infections.
What are the causes which and individuals are at risk?
There is not an exact reason till now that how it starts and what is the root cause. But many factors may increase the risk of this disease. These are:
- Age: People with the age of sixty can develop this cancer very easily.
- Gender: Men are at higher risk to develop small intestine cancer.
- Heredity: Some birth diseases may lead to this cancer.
- Smoking: Smoking is injurious to health and smokers are at higher risk to develop any type of cancer.
- Diet: Diet with high fats and carbs can be the reason for small intestine cancer.
- Working with or living nearby to harmful chemicals such as peroxyacetic acid can be a root cause of cancer.
- Diseases: Cohn’s disease, colitis, or celiac diseases are the reasons for small intestine cancer.
- Lymphedema: Any damage to vessels connected with lymph nodes can be the reason for intestinal cancer.
What are the main signs and common symptoms?
If you notice the following signs and symptoms you must visit your doctor without wasting any time. These symptoms can be a reason for small intestine cancer or any other serious disease. These are:
- Ache or contractions in the mid of your abdomen
- Rapid weight loss without any known cause
- A bulge in the abdomen
- Bleeding with feces
Which tests can help you in determining small intestinal cancer?
You will check and examined thoroughly by your PCP. He or she will ask some questions related to your health. You can discuss with them your problems.
Most of the time doctor advises MRI tests. These tests provide a clear image of your small intestine so they can locate any possible tumor in your small intestine.
X-rays are also used for the diagnosis of any residing tumor.
CT scan is also considered an option for this.
Your doctor may recommend endoscopy. It is a procedure in which the doctor looks inside the portions of the stomach, small intestine, or esophagus. For this purpose, a small tube along with a tiny camera is used. Your doctor will ask you to take some medicines before this procedure.
Other minor preliminary tests can be:
- Blood tests: These tests help in the detection of different substances in the blood and body.
- Liver tests for diagnosing functioning of the liver
- Fecal occult blood test for detection of any pathology or blood in the feces
- Lymph node biopsy: The doctor takes out a small piece of the lymph node to diagnose cancer cells.
- Laparotomy: It is an operation and doctors make a cut in the abdomen to look inside and determine any pathology.
What are the common treatments?
The type of treatment differs for every patient. It depends on the type of intestinal cancer to which extent it has been spread.
Mostly, surgery is adopted as the treatment. In this surgery, the part of the intestine with the cancer is removed. Sometimes bypass method such as ostomy is used in which the food can flow around a polyp or the tumor which can’t be eradicated due to any reason.
Radiation therapy is also done after the surgery to kill any chance of cancer coming back.
Chemotherapy is also one of the options.
There are also many therapies nowadays.
You should discuss it with your doctor which will be the best option for you.