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Home > Cancers We Treat > Gastrointestinal Cancer > Small Intestine Cancer

Small Intestine Cancer

Definition

Small intestine cancer is a rare cancer that forms in tissues of the small intestine (the part of the digestive tract between the stomach and the large intestine). The most common type is adenocarcinoma (cancer that begins in cells that make and release mucus and other fluids). Other types of small intestine cancer include sarcoma (cancer that begins in connective or supportive tissue), carcinoid tumor (a slow-growing type of cancer), gastrointestinal stromal tumor (a type of soft tissue sarcoma), and lymphoma (cancer that begins in immune system cells). 

Causes

Diet and health history can affect the risk of developing small intestine cancer.

Risk

Risk factors for small intestine cancer include the following:

  • Eating a high-fat diet
  • Having Crohn disease
  • Having celiac disease
  • Having familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP)

Symptoms

Check with your doctor if you have any of the following:

  • Pain or cramps in the middle of the abdomen
  • Weight loss with no known reason
  • A lump in the abdomen
  • Blood in the stool

Diagnosis

The following tests and procedures may be used:

  • Physical exam and history
  • Blood chemistry studies
  • Liver function tests
  • Endoscopy
  • Upper endoscopy
  • Capsule endoscopy
  • Double balloon endoscopy
  • Laparotomy
  • Biopsy
  • Upper GI series with small bowel follow-through
  • CT scan (CAT scan)
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)

Treatment

Treatment of small intestine adenocarcinoma that cannot be removed by surgery may include the following:

  • Surgery to bypass the tumor
  • Radiation therapy as palliative therapy to relieve symptoms and improve the patient's quality of life
  • A clinical trial of radiation therapy with radiosensitizers, with or without chemotherapy
  • A clinical trial of new anticancer drugs
  • A clinical trial of biologic therapy

Treatment of small intestine leiomyosarcoma that cannot be removed by surgery may include the following:

  • Surgery (to bypass the tumor) and radiation therapy
  • Surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy as palliative therapy to relieve symptoms and improve the patient's quality of life
  • A clinical trial of new anticancer drugs
  • A clinical trial of biologic therapy

Treatment of locally recurrent small intestine cancer may include the following:

  • Surgery
  • Radiation therapy or chemotherapy as palliative therapy to relieve symptoms and improve the patient's quality of life
  • A clinical trial of radiation therapy with radiosensitizers, with or without chemotherapy.

 

National Cancer Institute: PDQ® Small Intestine Cancer Treatment. Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute. Date last modified <10/24/2013>. Available at:https://cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/smallintestine/Patient. Accessed <07/11/2014>.

 

Content was created using EBSCO’s Health Library. Edits to original content made by Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice.