By: Dr. Thomas Incledon
Did you know there are 5 types of small intestinal cancer?
Cancer of the small Intestine, which is an organ in the body’s digestive system, is rare. The small intestine, a tube-line structure, connects the stomach to the large intestine. It is made of three sections that fold up in the abdomen – the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum. The small intestine/s main job is to absorb nutrients and minerals from the food you eat. It is the place where 90% of the digestion and absorption of food occurs in the body; the other 10% happens in the stomach and large intestine. Therefore, the small intestine is an essential body part.
While small intestinal cancer is uncommon, it is fairly treatable when found early. Recent statistics from the American Cancer Society report that the 5-year survival rate (the percentage of people who live at least 5 years after being diagnosed with cancer), for patients with Stage 1 small intestinal cancer is 70%. That means 7 out of 10 people are alive 5 years following diagnosis. This prognosis decreases when cancer is found at Stage IV, with only a 5-10% survival rate at 5 years.
As with other types of cancer, early detection, regardless of type of small intestinal cancer is fundamental to beating cancer. Dr. Tom Incledon, Founder & CEO of Causenta, always urges people to regularly see a doctor, so that any changes in blood markers or other warning signs of cancer can be detected early. Often, the signs of small intestinal cancer can be mistaken for other ailments; common symptoms include pain or cramps in the middle of the abdomen, weight loss with no known reason, a lump in the abdomen, and blood in the stool.
People who consume a high-fat diet, have Crohn’s or celiac disease, or familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) are more likely to develop small intestinal cancer.
The five types of small intestinal cancer are:
- Adenocarcinoma: These cancers begin in glandular cells, which are the parts of the body that secrete mucus, digestive juices, and other fluids. The small intestine produces a lot of secretions in order to perform its job.
- Sarcoma: This type of cancer refers to one that develops in the soft tissues of the body, including muscle, fat, and connective tissues.
- Carcinoid Tumors: This slow-growing type of cancer is commonly found in the small intestine and rectum. It is commonly associated with metastasis to the liver and other body parts and can secrete serotonin or prostaglandins that cause carcinoid syndrome.
- Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor: This is often called a GIST and usually begins in the cells in the wall of the gastrointestinal tract.
- Lymphoma: This type of cancer originates in the cells of the immune system and can affect the small intestine.
Each type of small intestinal cancer is treated in a unique way. In some cases, a resection surgery, which removes a portion of the small intestine, can remove the tumor and prevent metastasis. In other cases, when cancer is fast-growing, other treatments like chemotherapy will be considered. The stage at which cancer is found will also affect the treatment protocol recommended.
At Causenta, we work with each patient and their family to be sure they understand their unique case and why certain strategies are being prioritized. Our goal is to kill cancer cells and help people get back to their lives feeling better than they did before.
If you are interested in learning more about the types of small intestinal cancer and treatment options at Causenta, schedule your complimentary 30-minute consultation today.