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Neuroendocrine tumours (NETs)

NETs are rare cancerous tumours that develop in cells from the neuroendocrine system. If you're diagnosed with a NET, we can provide you with instant access to expert clinicians and world-class hospitals

Types of neuroendocrine tumours

Thyroid

Also known as medullary thyroid cancer (MTC), this a rare slow-growing cancer in the thyroid. The most common symptom is a lump in the neck.

Lungs

NETS in the lung may also be known as a bronchial NET. Lung NETs are an uncommon form of lung cancer.

Breast

This is a very rare type of NET. Diagnosis usually happens once you have had tests for the more common types of breast cancer.

Adrenal glands

A NET in the adrenal glands often causes too much of a particular hormone to be produced. The type of hormone that is overproduced depends on the part of the adrenal gland affected by the tumour.

Liver

The liver is usually not the primary site of the body where a NET develops. It is usually affected as a secondary site by metastasis (the spread from another organ).

Bowel

A rare type of neuroendocrine tumour that develops in the gastrointestinal tract of the small or large bowel.

Appendix

A rare form of neuroendocrine tumour that is usually detected by chance following removal of the appendix.

Rectum

A rare type of neuroendocrine tumour specifically affecting the end of the digestive system.

Other

Other rare types of neuroendocrine tumours include merkel cell carcinoma, multiple endocrine neoplasia and unknown primary.

Stomach gastric

There are three different types of stomach NETs, which combined account for a very small number of stomach cancers.

Pancreas

NETs in the pancreas are also called endocrine tumours of the pancreas. These include insulinomas, gastrinomas, glucagonomas, VIPomas and somatostatinoma.

Ovary

A rare type of neuroendocrine tumour specifically affecting the ovaries in the female reproductive system.

Cervix

A rare type of neuroendocrine tumour specifically affecting the lower part of the uterus in the female reproductive system.

Need to know

  • Symptoms of neuroendocrine tumours (NETs) icon plus

    Symptoms will depend on where in the body the NET is, but may include:

    • Skin flushes
    • Changes in bowel habits
    • Diarrhoea
    • Shortness of breath and/or wheezing
    • Loss of appetite
    • Weightloss

    A NET in your lung may cause chest infections and shortness of breath. You may have a cough or cough up blood. A NET in your digestive system may cause pain in the abdomen that comes and goes and may include nausea and vomiting. These symptoms can often be related to a number of non-cancerous conditions. If you experience any of these symptoms it is important to see your GP so that a referral and diagnosis can be made as quickly as possible.

  • Diagnosis icon plus

    Your consultant will carry out a combination of different diagnostic tests that may include:

    • blood tests
    • urine tests
    • CT scan
    • MRI scan
    • biopsy

    You may also have special blood tests that look at your hormones, and nuclear medicine scans (an octreotide scan or MIBG-scan) to help locate the tumour and plan for future treatment.

    If you are diagnosed with NETs you will have immediate access to world-class cancer specialists and a specialist unit dedicated to the treatment of these rare tumours.

  • Treatment icon plus

    Your consultant will talk you through your diagnosis and treatment options in detail, helping you to make an informed decision about your care. Depending on your diagnosis, treatment options may include:

    • Surgery - we offer the latest techniques in both open and minimally invasive surgery
    • Radionuclide Therapy
    • Chemotherapy
    • Molecular targeted therapy
    • Radiotherapy

    There are a number of other treatments available to treat NETs. Your consultant will discuss the most appropriate treatment plan with you.

    At HCA UK you will be looked after by a multidisciplinary team, including expert consultants, clinical nurse specialists and supportive therapists including psychologists who can help you with your emotional wellbeing.

Consultant in theatres

Our consultants

We're proud to work with leading experts across a range of medical fields, whose skills are matched by their integrity and compassion.

Our facilities

From complex surgery to straightforward procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

Request an appointment

We're happy to help you make an appointment with one of our experienced consultants.

This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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