Two Types Of Carcinoid Tumors
Carcinoid tumors can be active or inactive. Active metastatic carcinoid tumors will actively release hormones into the body, causing symptoms.
Subtle Signs And Symptoms Of Metastatic Carcinoid Tumors
The symptoms associated with active metastatic carcinoid tumors can be subtle and common to other types of GI disorders like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). These symptoms are often vague and hard to track and include:
- Abdominal mass (tumor)
- Abdominal pain
- Gastrointestinal bleeding
- Intestinal obstruction (blockage)
- Rectal bleeding
Sandostatin® LAR Depot is only indicated to treat the severe diarrhea and flushing associated with metastatic carcinoid tumors (carcinoid syndrome).
Metastatic Carcinoid Tumors Can Also Be Very Small
Some of them can be less than a centimeter in size. Patients with metastatic carcinoid tumors can spend several years without receiving an accurate diagnosis. Many of these patients spend this time being treated for a GI disorder like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Active Metastatic Carcinoid Tumors Can Lead To Carcinoid Syndrome
"Carcinoid syndrome" refers to the set of symptoms that may result from active metastatic carcinoid tumors releasing excess hormones into the body. The most commonly overproduced hormone of active metastatic carcinoid tumors is serotonin. Serotonin is a hormone that regulates mood and sleep and can interfere with the normal function of the stomach. Serotonin is found abundantly in the gastrointestinal system.
When metastatic carcinoid tumors spread, or metastasize, they can start producing excess hormones that can lead to these sudden and severe symptoms. In many cases, patients are diagnosed after these symptoms start to develop.
The Symptoms Of Carcinoid Syndrome
Carcinoid syndrome can include a set of symptoms that range in severity. Some patients may experience all or just some of these symptoms. Two of the most common symptoms associated with carcinoid syndrome are severe diarrhea and flushing. When flushing occurs, you may turn red and feel warm. Diarrhea and flushing can occur at the same time or you can experience one without the other.
Sandostatin® LAR Depot (octreotide acetate for injectable suspension) is only indicated to treat the severe diarrhea and flushing associated with metastatic carcinoid tumors (carcinoid syndrome).
Signs Of Diarrhea Associated With Carcinoid Syndrome
- Stools are watery
- The diarrhea can be mild to severe
- Episodes can occur several times a day and can interfere with daily activities
- Nocturnal diarrhea (diarrhea that occurs at night, usually when a patient is asleep)
Having excessive diarrhea can drain your body of water, causing dehydration and loss of electrolytes or nutrients and minerals. This can affect your digestion, body weight, and nutrition absorption, leaving you feeling weak and tired.
Signs of Flushing Associated With Carcinoid Syndrome
- Flushing may be temporary or continue, and appears suddenly, primarily on the face or neck and may not be associated with sweating
- With flushing, the skin looks deep red or purple
- You may also feel warm, unpleasant, and have a rapid heartbeat
- The flush can last from a few minutes to several hours
Other Signs Associated With Carcinoid Syndrome
- Abdominal pain
- Cyanosis (bluish skin)
- Heart valvular lesions
- Pellagra (rash)
- Telangiectasia (red blotches)
Carcinoid syndrome can make it hard for you to feel comfortable, perform day-to-day tasks, or feel like yourself. It is important to always keep your health care team informed if you experience these symptoms.
Talk To Your Health Care Team About Your Symptoms
If you have carcinoid syndrome, it is especially important that all members of your health care team be aware of your condition. This includes doctors and nurses who provide primary or specialized care, as well as emergency care.
The symptoms of carcinoid syndrome can range in severity. It is very important that you tell your health care team about any new symptoms you have, no matter how mild or severe they are. You must also inform your team of any changes in existing symptoms, especially if they become more severe.
Inform your health care team immediately if you develop severe diarrhea or flushing with abdominal pain.