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Do you know what is Neuroendocrine tumor? This is a rare type of tumor that develops from neuroendocrine cells. In other words, it is a condition in which neuroendocrine cells develop into tumors. In this post, we will describe the Neuroendocrine tumor symptoms and Neuroendocrine tumor treatment.
‘LIFE IS UNDER NO OBLIGATIONS TO GIVE US WHAT WE WANT’ – Margaret Mitchell
Do you know Irfan Khan? Of course, you all know him. Irfan Khan is a renowned name in the Bollywood industry and has given many super hit films like Talvar and Madaari.
Apart from this, he was also highlighted on social media for a rare disease called Neuroendocrine tumor. In March 2018, he revealed that he had been diagnosed with Neuroendocrine tumor. He went to London for the treatment and returned to India post-recovery.
You must have seen the post-recovery interview of Irfan Khan. He shared his experience in detail. This article is for those who are wondering, what this disease is all about.
What is Neuroendocrine Tumor?
The time you hear that you are suffering from Neuroendocrine tumor, a lot of questions arise in your mind – What is neuroendocrine tumor, how it will affect your body, and more. We will try to answer all your questions in this article. Let’s get started.
Neuroendocrine tumor, also known as NET, is a disorder in which neuroendocrine cells multiplies, forming a tumor. This disorder can spread to other parts of your body once it gets developed. An endocrine tumor is due to the unwanted multiplication of endocrine cells. But, if the endocrine cells include the nerve cells, it becomes a neuroendocrine tumor.
The certain cause for NET is unknown. Though, it is most likely caused by certain diseases that run in your families such as Neurofibromatosis type 1, Von Hippel-Lindau syndrome, Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1, and others.
Types of Neuroendocrine Tumor
The origin point of NET is the cells of the neuroendocrine system. This condition can be indolent or aggressive. Indolent means the NET grows gradually whereas aggressive means NET grows speedily. Commonly, the types of Neuroendocrine Tumors are based on the position of NET. Here are some types of NET.
- Merkel cell carcinoma
- Pheochromocytoma of the adrenal gland
- Adrenal cancer
- Carcinoid tumors
- Medullary thyroid carcinoma
- Merkel cell carcinoma
- Adrenal cancer
- Small cell carcinoma & Large cell carcinoma
Neuroendocrine Tumor Symptoms
The symptoms of NET depends on the type and area of the tumor. Some of the common symptoms of neuroendocrine tumors are:
- Hyperglycemia (too much sugar in the blood)
- Persistent pain in a specific area
- Loss of appetite/weight loss
- Persistent cough or hoarseness
- Hypoglycemia (too little sugar in the blood)
- Weight gain or loss
- Persistent fever or night sweats
- Gastric ulcer disease
- Thickening or lump in any part of the body
- Changes in bowel or bladder habits
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin)
The patient should study more about the type of tumor he/she is suffering from. This will help in different ways – emotionally as well as mentally.
Compared with other types of tumors, NET develops slowly- over the years. If identified at an early stage, the doctors can shrink or remove NET with the help of medications or therapies.
As we know, there are many types of neuroendocrine tumors, they need to be diagnosed at an early stage. Let’s discuss the diagnosis and treatment of neuroendocrine tumors.
Diagnosis of Neuroendocrine tumors
The doctor uses different approaches for the diagnosis and treatment of NET. These approaches are based on different factors such as affected areas, type of neuroendocrine tumor, how aggressive it is, and whether the tumor has spread to other parts of the body.
There are various tools available at a diagnostic center for diagnosing neuroendocrine tumors. This helps the doctor evaluate the disease and prepare a treatment plan accordingly. The specialists may use the following diagnostic tests:
- Biopsy, endoscopic ultrasound
- CT scan, CT angiography
- Genetic testing and counseling
- Lab tests, cytopathology
- Nuclear medicine imaging.
Neuroendocrine Tumor Treatment
The treatment of a neuroendocrine tumor depends on various circumstances like the size or area of the NET. It is important to identify the stage of NET before starting the treatment. This will help the doctor prepare an exact treatment plan. Following are the stages of the NET:
- Localized: NET is restrained in a particular area of the body.
- Regional: Spread to nearby areas or tissues.
- Metastatic: Spread throughout the body.
Based on these stages, your doctor prepares an effective treatment plan. Following are some treatment used for NETs:
Surgery is the first measure to treat neuroendocrine tumors. The surgeon removes the tumor and affected lymph nodes around the tumor. Your doctor will also remove the nearby tissues if the tumor has moved from the initial position. To stop NET from spreading, the doctor will also use various techniques like:
- Hepatic artery embolization
- Radiofrequency ablation
Consult your doctor if you find symptoms like flushing of the face or neck, diarrhea, stomach pain, or shortness of breath. These could be the initial signs of NET. Somatostatin drugs can ease the symptoms of NET.
Medications are required to eliminate the cancer cells left after the surgery. In some cases, medication can be taken as an alternative to cure NET.
Radiation therapy is the most common method of cancer treatment. Under this procedure, a heavy dosage of radiation is used to kill the cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation also reduces the growth of cancer cells.
Fatigue, upset stomach, skin reactions, or loose bowel movements are some of the side effects caused by radiation therapy. These side effects go away gradually.
Other Treatment methods
There are many other procedures for the treatment of NET, such as interventional radiology, gastroenterology, molecular targeted therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and targeted therapy. The treatment of NET depends on its type.
These are some procedures adopted to cure this condition. The treatment of NET is not easy. The patient has to go through a lot of pain and fatigue.
Take Care of Yourself
Along with the treatment, you should also make changes in your diet to ease the neuroendocrine tumor symptoms. Your nutritionist can come up with a diet plan to add some essential vitamins as well as minerals to keep you strong. This condition can make it difficult for you to maintain your weight.
During this illness, you shouldn’t neglect your mental and emotional health. The neuroendocrine tumor can also make you anxious or depressed. You can arrange a meeting with a therapist or join a social group to share your feelings during the treatment. Medicines may also help to ease these symptoms.
Also, read about: Inspirational Story Of Yuvraj Singh’s Cancer Battle
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