Treatment of carcinoid syndrome aims to treat the causative tumor and control the signs and symptoms by using medications. The choice of treatment option depends upon the size and location of the tumor.
An entire or a portion your cancer can be surgically removed. If the cancer has spread extensively making surgery impossible, your doctor can recommend other treatments that shrink the tumor.
Medications to reduce amount of secretions
Injectable medications, such as octreotide and lanreotide can reduce the signs and symptoms, including skin flushing and diarrhea.
These drugs don’t reduce the size of tumor but may slow its growth. Common side effects include abdominal pain and bloating.
This treatment activates your immune system against the tumor cells. Injections of a drug called interferon alfa can slow down the tumor growth.
Side effects include fatigue and flu-like symptoms.
Cutting blood supply to liver tumors
This process is called hepatic artery embolization. A catheter is inserted near your groin which passes an emboli through the artery that supplies your liver (hepatic artery).
The emboli reduces blood supply to cancer cells. This process is risky and is not widely available. Consult with your doctor to determine risk to benefit ratio.
Killing cancer cells by applying heat or cold
Radiofrequency ablation kills the cancer cells by applying heat obtained from various sources. Likewise, cryotherapy works in the same line but uses freezing temperature to destroy the tumor.
It uses chemicals to kill or shrink the tumor. The side effects of chemotherapy are specific to the particular drug.
6 Lifestyle and Coping
Various self-care measures can help you better cope with the symptoms of carcinoid syndrome.
These measures do not actually treat the condition but often make the symptoms more manageable.
Consult your doctor before applying any coping techniques.
These suggestions can be beneficial for you:
Stay away from the triggers of skin flushing
Certain triggers such as alcohol, large meals or stress can cause skin flushing. Keep track of what causes skin flushing and avoid them as far as possible.
Consider taking a multivitamin supplement
Chronic diarrhea may cause deficiency of micronutrients. Talk to your doctor if multivitamin supplements are beneficial.
Join a support group in your community or online, if available
Consult your doctor to know more about a support group for people with carcinoid syndrome.
Update and expand your knowledge
Update and expand your knowledge about your condition through authentic health information sources.
Live a healthy life
Increase your intake of fruits and vegetables. Stay physically active.
Manage your stress.
7 Risk and Complications
There are several complications associated with carcinoid syndrome, which include:
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