Small Intestine Cancer

 Uncontrolled growth of malignant cells inside small intestine is called small intestine cancer. There are five types of small intestine cancer viz. adenocarcinoma, sarcoma, carcinoid tumors, gastrointestinal stromal tumor and lymphoma.

Signs & Symptoms

The following are some of the major signs and symptoms of small intestine cancer:

  • Pain in abdomen
  • Weight loss
  • Lump in abdomen
  • Blood in stool
  • Constipation
  • Jaundice
  • Fatigue


Though exact cause of small intestine cancer is not yet known, there are a few factors that add to the threat of developing small intestine cancer. These factors include:

  • Drinking alcohol
  • Celiac ailment
  • A few hereditary problems such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), MUTYH-associated polyposis, hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) etc.
  • Inflammatory bowel illness that can have an effect on any part of the intestine
  • Growing older
  • Smoking

Test & Procedures

Before planning for the treatment it is essential to know the type of small intestine cancer. The following are some major tests conducted to diagnose small intestine cancer.

Physical examination and history:

Physical examination and history include checking of patient’s health, common sign of disease i.e. lumps or any other unusual thing. Patient’s health habits and past record of diseases and treatments are also taken into consideration.

Blood chemistry studies:

Blood chemistry study is conducted to measure the amount of some substances that are released by organs and tissues into the body. Any unusualness found in the amount of these substances can be a reason of small intestine cancer.

Liver function tests:

During this test doctors check blood sample to measure the amount of a few substances that liver releases into the blood. If anything unusual is seen, that may be a sign of liver disease and small intestine cancer may be one of its causes.

Abdominal x-ray:

An x-ray picture of abdomen helps in finding affected areas. The energy beam of x-ray goes through the body and produces clear picture of abdominal areas to detect small intestine cancer.

Barium enema:

During this procedure, one type of liquid containing barium is released into the rectum. The silver-white metallic substance coats the lower gastrointestinal tract and then a series of x-rays of the lower gastrointestinal (GI) tract are taken.

Fecal occult blood test:

A small sample of stool is checked, under microscope for blood in this test.

Upper endoscopy:

An endoscope, a device as thin as a tube with a camera and a light is inserted through the mouth. It then goes deep inside and looks into the esophagus, stomach and duodenum. Sometimes the endoscopes also have an instrument to remove tissue sample, which is tested under a microscope to detect cancer.


The process of removal of tissues or cells to check under microscope for signs of any disease is called biopsy. It can also be performed during endoscopy.

CT scan (CAT scan):

During CT scan a series of x-rays are taken from various angles of affected areas. The patient has to swallow a dye or it is injected into a vein to get more clear pictures.

Lymph node biopsy:

The process includes removal of the entire or a portion of lymph node. The lymph node tissue is then checked under microscope for cancer cells.


During laparotomy, an incision is made in abdomen wall and inside area is checked for signs of small intestine cancer. Often the sample tissue is removed to be checked under microscope.


Treatment options of small intestine cancer are listed below:

  • Surgery
  • Radiation therapy
  • Radiation therapy with radio sensitizers (with or without chemotherapy)
  • Clinical trial of new anticancer medicine
  • Biologic therapy

Treatment Cost

The treatment cost of small intestine cancer would be approximately $75, 000. This amount includes doctor fee, patient’s stay, food, medication, nursing, treatment and follow-up care.

Preventive Measures

Preventive measures of small intestine cancer may be listed as below:

  • Maintain a diet that includes low-fat and high-fiber foods.
  • Do some physical exercise daily to lower the risk of small intestine cancer.
  • Give up smoking habit to reduce the risk of any cancer.
  • Curcumin is an essence found in turmeric. Reports say that consuming curcumin in any form may reduce the risk of small intestine cancer.
  • Last but not the least understanding the disease and in-time diagnosis may help in lessening the risk of developing the deadly disease.

Side Effects

Side effects of various treatments of small intestine cancer include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of hair
  • Mouth sores
  • Low blood counts
  • Low resistance power to infections
  • Bleeding after minor injuries
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Diarrhea

However, these side effects are temporary and doctor can help in handling them.

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