Neuroendocrine
cancer

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If neuroendocrine cancer spreads

Cancer cells have the potential to spread from their original location to other parts of the body where they can grow into new tumours. This process is called metastasis. The tumours are also called metastasis (singular) or metastases (plural). Metastases are also called secondary tumours.

Understanding the usual progression of cancer helps the doctor to predict its probable course, plan treatment and anticipate further care.

The most common sites where neuroendocrine cancer spreads are:

  • regional lymph nodes
  • liver
  • lung
  • bones (rare)
  • brain (rare)

Neuroendocrine cancers can sometimes cause complications if a reaction around the tumour creates scar tissue. The growth of neuroendocrine tumours or carcinomas can also cause complications. For example, intestinal neuroendocrine tumours or carcinomas may block (obstruct) the intestine or bile duct. The hormone serotonin released by intestinal neuroendocrine tumours or carcinomas is often associated with heart valve damage (carcinoid heart disease), carcinoid syndrome and carcinoid crisis.

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