An Overview Of Intestinal Cancer

Intestinal cancer or small intestine cancer is a condition associated with a change in the tissues of the small intestine. This change results in an out of control cell growth, resulting in a tumor.

The small intestine is where food digestion occurs. It connects the stomach with the large bowel. Its main job is to extract nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, and proteins, from the broken down foods and supply them to the body. With this cancer, your small intestine develops blockage.

The five types of small intestine cancer are the following.

  • Adenocarcinomas: This cancer type makes up 30% to 40% of the total small intestine cancer cases. It starts in the lining of the small bowel. The precursor to the development of adenocarcinoma is the formation of noncancerous polyps, which can turn into cancer over time.
  • Sarcoma: This cancer involves the development of cancerous cells in the soft tissues of the small intestine.
  • Carcinoid tumors: The tumors generally originate from the lower section of the small intestine. They can also affect your rectum or appendix. These formations usually result in the release of large amounts of body chemicals, such as serotonin.
  • Gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs): This one is a very rare kind of small intestine cancer. In many cases, it starts in the stomach. It is worth mentioning that not all types of GISTs are cancerous.
  • Intestinal lymphomas: Cancer starting in the lymph nodes is known as a lymphoma. This condition generally develops in people with an immunodeficiency disorder. This disorder refers to the weakness of your immune system to fight off infections and diseases.

Risk factors

The exact reason for this cancer is not yet known, but doctors have been able to identify certain factors that might contribute to its development. Those risk factors are the following.

  • Being aged
  • Being male
  • Genetics
  • Smoking and alcohol consumption
  • Diet high in fats
  • Dealing with large quantities of acids or chemicals on a daily basis
  • Conditions that affect your gut, such as colon cancer, Crohn’s disease, or celiac disease
  • Lymphedema


You may need to consult your doctor immediately if you notice the following signs or symptoms.

  • Cramps or pain in the middle of the abdomen
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • A lump in the abdomen
  • Traces of blood in the stool

Tests that may show that you have small intestine cancer

First and foremost, your doctor will do a physical checkup to notice anything unusual. He or she may also ask you about your medical history.

The diagnosis of small intestine cancer starts with imaging tests. These tests may include an x-rays test, CT scan, or MRI.

In some cases, your doctor may want to perform an endoscopy to look inside your small intestine by inserting a flexible tube with a camera on its one end through your mouth, esophagus, and stomach. You will require sedation medication before this procedure.

Other tests include the following.

  • Blood chemistry test
  • A fecal occult blood test
  • Liver function test
  • Lymph node biopsy
  • Laparotomy

Available treatments

The type of treatment you will get depends on the type and stage of cancer. In most cases, your doctor will choose to perform surgery to remove cancer cells. You may still need radiation therapy even after the removal of all cancer cells during surgery. Another way to treat cancer is chemotherapy, which involves administering medication through IV or oral cavity.

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