Treatment and care of people with cancer is usually provided by a team of health professionals – called a multidisciplinary team.
Treatment for neuroendocrine tumours (NETs) depends on the location of the cancer in the body (where it started and where it has spread), the stage of the cancer (how far it has progressed), the grade of the cancer (how fast it is growing), whether the tumour is functional or nonfunctional, and your general health and preferences.
Treatment options can include surgery, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, treatment with medicines that reduce the amount of hormones made by the tumour, liver-directed therapies (to treat NETs that have spread to the liver), and radiation therapy.
Surgery is the main treatment for NETs that have not spread or have only spread to a small extent. Surgery can sometimes be used to completely remove the tumour (together with some healthy tissue around the tumour). In other cases, it can be used to help with treatments such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy, or to relieve symptoms and improve quality of life if the tumour has spread or is too large to remove completely.
Treatment for carcinoid syndrome may also be needed. This can involve hormone therapy to reduce the amount of hormones made; interferon therapy to stimulate the immune system; and medications to reduce diarrhoea, skin rashes and breathing problems.
Canadian Cancer Society (2019). Neuroendocrine tumours.
2. National Comprehensive Cancer Network (2018). Neuroendocrine tumors.
3. Unicorn Foundation (2015). Neuroendocrine tumours: a guide for patients and carers.
4. Unicorn Foundation (2015). Neuroendocrine tumours: a guide for healthcare professionals.
5. National Cancer Institute (2018). Gastrointestinal carcinoid tumors treatment – (PDQ®) – patient version.
6. International Neuroendocrine Cancer Alliance. What are neuroendocrine tumors?