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What are the treatment options for neuroendocrine cancer?

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Quick Answer

Treatment options for neuroendocrine cancer include chemotherapy, ablation, drug therapy and surgery such as laparoscopy, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. The options vary depending on the severity of the cancer and what parts of the body are affected.

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Full Answer

Minimally-invasive surgical techniques are used to remove tumors and abnormalities from affected areas such as the liver, pancreas or lung. Radiofrequency ablation is one such minimally-invasive technique that involves the use of radio waves to eventually remove the abnormal growth. Changing the patient's diet and monitoring his nutritional intake are important aspects of treating neuroendocrine cancer, states the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Neuroendocrine cancer affects the nervous and endocrine systems, resulting in the overactive production of hormones that cause symptoms such as wheezing, flushing, high blood pressure and diarrhea. Only certain tumors, called functional tumors, produce excess hormones, whereas nonfunctional tumors create symptoms without producing extra hormones, asserts the National Cancer Institute. Some types of neuroendocrine illnesses include carcinoid tumors, vipoma and Merkel's cell tumors. The tumors can spread from one organ to another organ on the other end of the body, making diagnosis difficult, claims UPMC. A diagnosis is formed by performing procedures such as CT scans, liver biopsy and blood tests.

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