Neuroendocrine Tumors Treated by Expert Cancer Doctors in Baltimore

Digestive Health and Liver Disease at Mercy - Neuroendocrine Tumors

The doctors of Surgical Oncology at Mercy work closely with Dr. Sandy Kotiah, Director of the Neuroendocrine Tumor Center at Mercy in Baltimore, to diagnose and treat neuroendocrine tumors. These tumors may also be referred to as NETs or carcinoid tumors. Our doctors are recognized experts who provide patients with the latest diagnostic techniques and therapeutic options to treat neuroendocrine tumors. 

About the Condition

The neuroendocrine system consists of the nervous system and the endocrine system.  Both systems are made of neuroendocrine cells that are located throughout your body. Neuroendocrine cells can sometimes turn into cancer and become neuroendocrine tumors (NETs). These tumors are cancerous (malignant), range in size and differ in their rate of growth.

Neuroendocrine tumors are rare, hard to find and difficult to diagnose. It is important to seek a doctor who is knowledgeable about neuroendocrine tumors to ensure a proper and timely diagnosis.

A neuroendocrine tumor often begins in the digestive tract, in particular the pancreas, as it has more neuroendocrine cells than any other part of your body. NETs also can be present in the appendix, lungs, ovaries, rectum, small intestine and testes.

Types of Neuroendocrine Tumors

There are many specific types of neuroendocrine tumors. They include the following:

  • Carcinoid
  • Gastroenteropancreatic NET (GEP-NET)
  • Islet cell 
  • Gastrinoma, glucagonoma, insulinoma
  • Merkel cell carcinoma
  • Medullary thyroid carcinoma
  • Small-cell lung carcinoma
NEXT: Symptoms & Diagnostic Process ›
Symptoms & Diagnostic Process

Neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) typically do not show signs until they have grown and spread (metastasized) to other parts of the body. Symptoms may include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach pain
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Skin rash
  • Flushing

Your symptoms may depend on the location and type of neuroendocrine tumor (functional or nonfunctional).

  • Functional NET – releases hormones that cause your symptoms.
  • Non Functional NET – does not discharge hormones and produces symptoms like pain as the tumor develops
  • NET location – the location of the NET can contribute to the types of symptoms   

Your doctor may find neuroendocrine tumors during a routine exam or during surgery for another condition. Your doctor may order a number of tests to support the diagnosis including:

  • Blood Test
  • Urine Test
  • Computed tomography (CT)
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • Octreoscan (a tracer, injected into the bloodstream, attaches to the tumor and emits energy that is picked up by the scanner)
NEXT: Treatment Options ›
Treatment Options

Possible treatment options for neueroendocrine tumors may include:

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Chemoembolization
  • Radiofrequency ablation
  • Radiotherapy
  • Targeted radionuclide therapy
  • Medications
  • Clinical Study

Your doctor also may recommend incorporating a healthy lifestyle plan to help with your treatment. Some healthy lifestyle changes include:

  • Diet consisting of fruit, vegetables, and whole grains
  • Regular exercise
  • Plenty of rest
  • Prevent stress
Meet Our Doctors: Surgical Oncology
Dr. Vadim Gushchin - Surgical Oncology at Mercy - Baltimore
Vadim Gushchin, M.D.

Dr. Vadim Gushchin is Director of The Melanoma and Skin Cancer Center at Mercy as well as Director of Gastrointestinal Oncology. He is a skilled cancer surgeon offering expertise in gastrointestinal malignancies as well as advanced treatment options including HIPEC and robotic surgery.

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