You have probably never heard of these small, slow-growing cancers. Although rare, carcinoid/neuroendocrine cancers are diagnosed in more than 12,000 Americans every year and approximately 125,000 Americans are living with carcinoid/NET cancer today. These tumors usually develop in the lining of the digestive tract but can also occur in other areas of the body such as the lungs, pancreas, testes, or ovaries. For years, this group of cancers was identified as a specific disease called carcinoid; however, this term is slowly being replaced by the term NETs — or, carcinoid/NET cancer.
Because they are rare and a lack of public awareness exists about carcinoid/NET cancers, the priority for medical research has been low. November is Carcinoid / Neuroendocrine Tumor (NET) Cancer Awareness Month, a time when you can help to make a difference.
Fast Facts About the Diagnosis of Carcinoid/NET Tumors
- Carcinoid/NET tumors occur most often in women and in those older than 60 years of age.
- These tumors often do not produce symptoms in the early stages, and are typically diagnosed accidentally during an x-ray examination for an unrelated problem.
- More than 90% of all patients with these tumors are incorrectly diagnosed and treated for the wrong disease.
- Some carcinoid/NET tumors produce symptoms that are not specific to the disease, such as facial flushing, rash, and intestinal bleeding.
- The 2 most common misdiagnoses for patients with midgut carcinoid/NET tumors are Crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome.
- It takes an average of more than 5 years from the initial symptom onset to obtain a proper diagnosis.
- Most specialist physicians are unaware of current diagnostic and treatment options for these cancers.
- Physicians often mistakenly believe that these tumors are benign, slow-growing, and do not metastasize.
- Many surgeons wrongly trust that removal of the carcinoid/NET tumor will cure the patient and that no follow-up is necessary.
- The most prevalent symptoms related to carcinoid/NET tumors are abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, wheezing, flushing, heart palpitations, and fluctuations in blood pressure.
- A few simple tests can aid in the diagnosis of these tumors, eg, blood tests or a 24-hour urine test.
- Other commonly used diagnostics for these tumors are CT scans and MRIs.
Early diagnosis of carcinoid/NET cancer is critical because when it is uncovered early and the correct treatment is provided, patients can go on to live long lives.
Help raise awareness of the need for research to discover more effective treatments and cures, and to support patients and families with carcinoid/NET cancers.
About the Connexion Healthcare Oncology Center of Excellence
Connexion Healthcare is a full-service global provider of strategic medical and scientific communications with decades of experience providing exceptional service to the pharmaceutical industry. We provide services through 2 Centers of Excellence—Oncology and Rare Disease—and possess core expertise in these therapeutic areas and their marketplaces.
Connexion Healthcare’s Oncology Center of Excellence offers executive talent with decades of experience in the pharmaceutical industry. Our medical directors have conducted oncology research at leading institutions and major pharmaceutical companies. Our account leads have years of project execution expertise, and our medical editors are versed in the language of oncology. Our design leads are tops in their fields and ensure that your objectives are met effectively and even surpassed in an industry-eloquent and compliant manner. Our team works with you to conceive a strategy and execute communications through your product’s lifespan – from drug discovery through market launch and beyond. With particular expertise in phase 2 through postlaunch, we will engage with you wherever you are in development and whenever you need us.
For further information regarding the Oncology Center of Excellence at Connexion Healthcare and how we can develop oncology communications to differentiate therapies by their unique attributes, contact:
Larry Lunak, Senior Vice President
Valery Sudakin, PhD
Hematology/Oncology Scientific Services