Lung Carcinoid Tumor

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Early Detection, Diagnosis, and Staging TOPICS

Can lung carcinoid tumors be found early?

Lung carcinoid tumors are not common, and there are no widely recommended screening tests for these tumors in most people. (Screening is testing for cancer in people without any symptoms.)

People with multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1) are at increased risk for these tumors, and some doctors recommend they have computed tomography (CT) scans of the chest every 3 years starting when they are age 20.

Because carcinoid tumors usually grow and spread slowly, most are found at an early or localized stage, even if they have been causing symptoms for some time.

Many patients with peripheral carcinoid tumors or with small central carcinoid tumors have no symptoms. Carcinoids that are not causing symptoms often are found on a chest x-ray or CT scan done for other reasons.

Last Medical Review: 02/05/2015
Last Revised: 02/24/2016