The bowel includes the small and large intestines, parts of your digestive system. Bowel tumors are a general term for cancer that begins anywhere in the bowel. There are several less common cancerous tumors that can affect the bowel including gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs), carcinoids and lymphoma.
What are gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTS)?
What are neuroendocrine tumors (carcinoids)?
What is lymphoma?
Causes of bowel tumors
Though doctors do not know what causes tumors to grow in the bowel, risk factors for various bowel tumors include:
- Age (especially over 65)
- Family history of bowel cancer
- Gender (males are more at risk)
- Having certain genetic syndromes or mutations, including:
- Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN 1)
- Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 (MEN 2)
- Tuberous sclerosis
- Von Hippel-Lindau disease
- Heavy alcohol use
Symptoms of bowel tumors
If the bowel tumor is small, most people won’t experience any symptoms. Typically doctors only discover a cancerous growth when investigating another medical problem. If the tumor is in the intestines and is large enough, it may cause symptoms similar to other colon cancers, such as:
- Abdominal pain
- Bleeding from the rectum or bloody stools
- Change in bowel habits
- Unexplained weight loss
Surgical treatment for bowel tumors
The standard treatment for GISTs and neuroendocrine tumors (carcinoids) is to remove the cancerous growth, and whichever part of the bowel is affected. Depending on the type and size of the tumor, surgeons may also recommend chemotherapy as follow-up therapy.
For lymphoma, immediate chemotherapy may be the first-line treatment if it is an option. Surgeons typically reserve surgery to remove the lymphoma for those tumors blocking or tearing the bowel. Specialists can also use radiation to treat some rectal lymphomas. Your North Carolina Surgery team will help you plan the most effective treatment for your bowel tumors based on factors that we will discuss during your consultation in our clinic.
Related Procedures & Surgeries
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