Gastrointestinal Carcinoid Tumors

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What Is Gastrointestinal Carcinoid Tumors? TOPICS

What are the key statistics about gastrointestinal carcinoid tumors?

Although the exact number isn’t known, about 8,000 neuroendocrine tumors and cancers that start in the gastrointestinal tract (the stomach, intestine, appendix, colon, or rectum) are diagnosed each year in the United States. These tumors can also start in the lungs (see Lung Carcinoid Tumor for more information) and the pancreas, and a small number develop in other organs.

The number of carcinoid tumors diagnosed has been increasing for many years. The reason for this is unknown. Some think it may be a byproduct of doing more medical tests to look for something else and finding carcinoid tumors. Since many carcinoids never cause any symptoms, there are probably many people with carcinoid tumors that are never found. These tumors might only be seen during an autopsy when a person dies of something else, or when someone has surgery or imaging tests for an unrelated condition.

The most common location of gastrointestinal carcinoid tumors is the small intestine, often in the section near the appendix (called the ileum). Other common sites include the rectum, the colon (large intestine), the appendix, and the stomach.

The average age of people diagnosed with carcinoid tumors is in the early 60s. Carcinoid tumors are more common in African Americans than in whites, and are slightly more common in women than men.

Last Medical Review: 02/26/2015
Last Revised: 02/08/2016