• Neuroendocrine Tumor Symptoms

Neuroendocrine Tumor Symptoms

Neuroendocrine tumors (NET) are a type of cancer that forms in the neuroendocrine cells similar to those that produce hormones. These types of cancers have a rare formation and generally occur in the intestine, appendix, lungs, pancreas, and rectum. Various types of NETs exist; some grow slower, and others rapidly. Different people notice different neuroendocrine tumor symptoms. Although the earlier stages of this cancer do not show any noticeable symptoms, it may show signs of fatigue, nausea, pain, fever, or increased pulse rate with time.

A Neuroendocrine tumor or cancer does not show any signs or may show mild signs in the initial stage. However, it shows major symptoms afterward, depending on the intensity and location of the tumor. Another factor that impacts the intensity and the type of symptoms is based on the tumor secretes excess hormones.

Most Common Neuroendocrine Tumor Symptoms are due to

General Neuroendocrine Tumor Cancer symptoms

General Neuroendocrine Tumor Cancer symptoms include:

  • Fatigue- The person with neuroendocrine cancer can feel extreme fatigue and lethargy to do normal chores.
  • Loss of appetite- Your appetite may decrease or completely go.
  • Unknown reason for weight loss- You may experience weight loss without changing your diet or exercise routine.

The general neuroendocrine cancer symptoms can also be one of the symptoms of end stage neuroendocrine cancer.

Gastrointestinal Neuroendocrine Tumor symptoms

A gastrointestinal neuroendocrine tumor is formed in the lining of the GI tract. The risk of gastrointestinal neuroendocrine tumors can be impacted by your health history. If cancer has spread to the liver, it can cause carcinoid syndrome. Some of these cancers don’t show any signs in the early stages. An examination of the blood and urine is required to diagnose such tumors.

The symptoms of a gastrointestinal neuroendocrine tumor are quite similar to the signs of gastrointestinal tract cancer. These are-

  • Bloating or a feeling of fullness
  • Uneasiness or urge for excretion when that is not needed
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Blood in the stool
  • A change in shape or color of the stool, tarry stool
  • Weight loss without intention
  • Abdominal or lower back pain
  • Showing signs of pellagra
  • Constipation and uneasy bowel movements
  • Nauseous and vomiting
  • Signs of Jaundice
  • Sores in the skin, often unresponsive to treatments

These gastrointestinal neuroendocrine tumours symptoms <can be confused with many other symptoms of different health issues.

Lung Neuroendocrine Tumor symptoms

Lung neuroendocrine tumors are a rare type of lung cancer formed in your lung’s neuroendocrine cells. These have much slower growth than others. Studies show that about 30% of neuroendocrine tumors occur in the region that carries sir to your lungs. The neuroendocrine cells produce hormones that regulate the flow of air and blood into the lungs.

Lung neuroendocrine tumors show no sign at the early stage. About 25% of cases of lung neuroendocrine cancers are asymptomatic and are diagnosed during an examination of tests for an unrelated chest or lung issue, for example, a chest scan for infections in the lung.

The major Lung Neuroendocrine Tumor symptoms are-

  • Shortness of Breath
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Skin flushing
  • Weight gain
  • Pink/Purple patches on the skin

Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumor Symptoms

Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors primarily generate in the islet cells or the cells in the pancreas where hormones are made. In the primary stage of cancer, the Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors don’t show any signs or symptoms. Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors can be of many types. These get impacted by some specific syndromes. A pancreatic NET can have several functional types. A doctor needs lab tests and examinations, including imaging, to diagnose a pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor. Different lab tests are necessary to identify the types of pancreatic NETs.

Despite being unidentifiable in the initial stage, pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor symptoms can appear later. The followings are some of the signs that can easily be confused with a gastrointestinal problem-

  • Heartburns
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Indigestion
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal or back pain
  • Diabetes
  • Low Blood Sugar
  • Rashes on the skin
  • Muscle cramp
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Weight loss

There are various functional Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors, such as:

Gastrinoma- a tumor formed in the cells that produce gastrin, a hormone used to digest food.

Insulinoma is a tumor formed in the cells that produce insulin, which is used to control blood sugar levels.

Glucagonoma- a tumor formed in the cells that produce glucagon, a hormone that increases the glucose in the blood.

VIPoma is a tumor formed in the cells that produce vasoactive intestinal peptides.

Somatostatinoma- a tumor formed in the cell that makes somatostatin.

Functional Neuroendocrine Tumor Symptoms

Neuroendocrine tumors can be divided into two groups based on the signs they show-

  • Functioning tumors—the tumor secretes clinical symptoms.
  • Non-functioning tumors—there is no sign of clinical syndromes.

Neuroendocrine tumors are slower in growth. They could be present in the body for years without showing any symptoms, which leads to late treatment.

The symptom of a functional neuroendocrine tumor includes-

  • Face turning red all of a sudden, also known as skin flushing
  • Diarrhea
  • Frequent urges of urination
  • Feeling of thirstiness
  • Dizziness and shakiness
  • The appearance of rashes on the skin

The symptoms cannot be taken as a solid diagnosis, similar to the neuroendocrine tumor liver metastases symptoms.


Neuroendocrine Tumors are difficult to diagnose as they don’t show overt symptoms in the early stage. Even during the advanced stages, the symptoms are unclear as they could be similar to other health problems. Only an examination can identify this type of cancer which makes it a bit risky, and there is no surety of prognosis.