Carcinoid Syndrome


Know the basics

What is Carcinoid syndrome?

Carcinoid syndrome is a disorder that occurs when small tumors (carcinoid tumors) let chemicals get into the bloodstream. Carcinoid syndrome typically occurs in people who have carcinoid tumors that are advanced and can cause vary symptoms .These slow-growing tumors are mainly found in the gastrointestinal tract or lungs (bronchi). They occur in the appendix most often.

How common is Carcinoid syndrome?

This syndrome is rare and occurs in about 3 in 100,000 people and usually occurs in people who have carcinoid tumors that are advanced.

Know the symptoms

What are the symptoms of Carcinoid syndrome?

The signs and symptoms of carcinoid syndrome depend on which chemicals the carcinoid tumor secretes into your bloodstream. The most common signs and symptoms of carcinoid syndrome include:

  • Skin flushing. The skin on your face and upper chest feels hot and changes color — ranging from pink to purple. Flushing episodes may last from a few minutes to a few hours or longer.

Flushing may happen for no obvious reason, though sometimes it can be triggered by stress, exercise or drinking alcohol.

  • Facial skin lesions. Purplish areas of spiderlike veins may appear on the nose and upper lip.
  • Diarrhea. Frequent, watery stools sometimes accompanied by abdominal cramps may occur in people who have carcinoid syndrome.
  • Difficulty breathing. Asthma-like signs and symptoms, such as wheezing and shortness of breath, may occur at the same time you experience skin flushing.
  • Rapid heartbeat. Periods of a fast heart rate could be a sign of carcinoid syndrome.

There may be some signs or symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.

Know the causes

What causes Carcinoid syndrome?

Carcinoid syndrome is caused by a carcinoid tumor that secretes serotonin or other chemicals into your bloodstream. In most cases, the liver effectively neutralizes the chemicals before they have a chance to travel through your body and cause symptoms. However, when an advanced tumor spreads (metastasizes) to the liver itself, these tumors may secrete chemicals that aren’t neutralized before reaching the bloodstream. Most people who experience carcinoid syndrome have an advanced cancer that has spread to the liver.

Know the risk factors

What increases your risk for Carcinoid syndrome?

Certain factors may increase your risk of developing Mitral stenosis:

  • Family history suffering multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1: This is a rare condition caused by inherited defects in the gene MEN1. People with this syndrome have a very high risk of getting tumors of 3 glands: the pituitary, parathyroid, and pancreas. They also have an increased risk of carcinoid tumors. Some studies estimate that inherited mutations of the MEN1 gene are responsible for about 10% of carcinoid tumors.
  • Race and gender: Carcinoid tumors are more common among African Americans than whites. Outcomes are also not as good for African Americans. Researchers do not yet know why. Carcinoid tumorare also slightly more common in women than men.
  • Age: for carcinoid tumor of the gastrointestinal tract, the disease usually ranges in age from 55-65 years old. For carcinoid tumors in the appendix, usually the average age is about 40 years old. For lung carcinoid tumors, it is from 45-55. Children rarely suffer carcinoid tumors.
  • Other stomach conditions: people with certain diseases that damage the stomach and reduce the amount of acid will have a greater risk of developing stomach carcinoid tumors, but their risk for carcinoid tumors of other organs is not affected.

Not having risk factors does not mean you can not get hamstring strains. These factors are for reference only. You should consult  your doctor for more details.

Understand the diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for medical advice. ALWAYS consult your doctor.

How is Carcinoid syndrome diagnosed?

Most of these tumors are found when tests or procedures are done for other reasons, such as during abdominal surgery. Due to relatively rare carcinoid syndrome symptoms while coincided with some other conditions, so doctors usually only suspect carcinoid syndrome if he/she can’t find any other reason causing the symptoms. To confirm this suspicion, the doctor will conduct some tests methods include:

  • Urine test;
  • Blood test.Your blood may contain high levels of certain substances, including the protein chromogranin A;
  • CT and MRI scan of of your abdomen and chest;
  • Echocardiogram.

How is Carcinoid syndrome treated?

To treat carcinoid syndrome, the doctor will have to remove or limit the spread of carcinoid tumors. If surgery can’t remove widespread tumors, medicines may shrink tumors and control symptoms. These drugs include octreotide and interferon alfa. Hepatic artery embolization and heating or freezing tumor cells may be treatment options in some patients If the tumor has spread to the liver.

Lifestyle Changes & Home Remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies help manage Carcinoid syndrome?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with Carcinoid syndrome :

  • Re-examinate puntually to keep track on the disease’s progress and your health condition.
  • Follow doctor’s instruction.
  • Avoid alcohol. It may cause flushing.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet. Avoid large meals, which can trigger flushing.
  • Keep track of what triggers flushing and avoid those triggers.
  • Learn as much as you can about your illness.
  • Find a support group if you think that would help.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


Review Date: August 19, 2016 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017

You might also like