Neuroendocrine
tumours

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Stages of neuroendocrine tumours (NETs)

Staging describes or classifies a cancer based on how much cancer there is in the body and where it is when first diagnosed. This is often called the extent of cancer. Information from tests is used to find out the size of the tumour, which parts of the organ have cancer, whether the cancer has spread from where it first started and where the cancer has spread. Your healthcare team uses the stage to plan treatment and estimate the outcome (your prognosis).

Staging NETs depends on where the cancer started.

Gastrointestinal neuroendocrine tumours (GI NETs)

Most gastrointestinal neuroendocrine tumours (GI NETs) are staged differently than other types of GI cancer. GI NETs of the stomach, small intestine, ampulla of Vater, colon, rectum and appendix have their own unique staging.

Find out more about stages of GI NETs.

Lung neuroendocrine tumours (lung NETs)

Lung neuroendocrine tumours (lung NETs) are staged using the same system as other lung cancers.

Find out more about stages of lung cancer.

Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours (pNETs)

Some pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours (pNETs) are staged differently than other pancreatic cancers. Grade 1 and grade 2 well-differentiated pNETs have their own unique staging.

Find out more about stages of pNETs.

High-grade pNETs and poorly differentiated pancreatic neuroendocrine carcinomas are staged using the same system as other pancreatic cancers.

Find out more about stages of pancreatic cancer.

Other types of NETs

Some other types of NETs are staged as follows:

  • Medullary thyroid carcinomas are staged using a staging system for thyroid cancers. They have their own stage grouping.
  • NETs of the thymus are staged using the same system as other thymus tumours.
  • NETs of the parathyroid gland, NETs of the pituitary gland, pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas do not have a standard staging system because they are very rare.
  • Merkel cell carcinoma is staged differently than other skin cancers and has its own staging system.

Questions to ask about staging

To make the decisions that are right for you, ask your doctor questions about staging for any type of cancer.

ampulla of Vater

The space where the tubes from the liver (bile duct) and the pancreas (pancreatic duct) come together. It empties into the first part of the small intestine (duodenum).

Also called hepatopancreatic ampulla or duodenal ampulla.

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