Carcinoid tumors

Carcinoid tumors are a type of slow-growing cancer that can arise in several places throughout your body. Carcinoid tumors, which are one subset of tumors called neuroendocrine tumors, usually begin in the digestive tract (stomach, appendix, small intestine, colon, rectum) or in the lungs.

Carcinoid tumors often don't cause signs and symptoms until late in the disease. Carcinoid tumors can produce and release hormones into your body that cause signs and symptoms such as diarrhea or skin flushing.

Treatment for carcinoid tumors usually includes surgery and may include medications.

Symptoms Causes Risk factors Complications

In some cases, carcinoid tumors don't cause any signs or symptoms. When they do occur, signs and symptoms are usually vague and depend on the location of the tumor.

Carcinoid tumors in the lungs

Signs and symptoms of carcinoid lung tumors include:

  • Chest pain
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Diarrhea
  • Redness or a feeling of warmth in your face and neck (skin flushing)
  • Weight gain, particularly around the midsection and upper back
  • Pink or purple marks on the skin that look like stretch marks

Carcinoid tumors in the digestive tract

Signs and symptoms of carcinoid tumors in the digestive tract include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea, vomiting and inability to pass stool due to intestinal blockage (bowel obstruction)
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Rectal pain
  • Redness or a feeling of warmth in your face and neck (skin flushing)

When to see a doctor

If you experience any signs and symptoms that bother you and are persistent, make an appointment with your doctor.

© 1998-2015 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. Terms of use