About Small Intestine Cancer

Small intestine cancer is characterized by malignant (abnormal and uncontrollably dividing) cells in the small intestine, a digestive organ responsible for absorbing nutrients from consumed food and beverages.
Small intestine cancer can fall into one of five types, based on the type of cells it arose from:
  • Adenocarcinoma, from mucus-secreting gland cells
  • Sarcoma, from muscle or connective tissue cells
  • Carcinoid tumors , from neuroendocrine cells
  • Gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST), from interstitial cells of Cajal, which regulate food digestion
  • Lymphoma

Signs and Symptoms of Small Intestine Cancer
Symptoms of small intestine cancers include:
  • Stools that are bloody or dark
  • Feeling discomfort, pain or fullness in the abdomen
  • Anemia
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue and weakness
While many of these symptoms may be caused by other conditions, early small intestine cancer detection is crucial to successful treatment. If you or a loved one experiences any of the above symptoms, please contact a doctor for further evaluation.
Risk Factors of Small Intestine Cancer
Risk factors associated with small intestine cancer include:
  • Diet: A diet high in fat may elevate small intestine cancer risk, while a diet in fiber is linked with a lower risk
  • Diseases and Conditions:
    • Celiac disease: When people with celiac disease consume gluten (a protein found in wheat and several other types of grain), the body produce an immune reaction that attack intestinal tissues that can lead to cancerous changes
    • Colorectal cancer: Colorectal cancer survivors are at a higher risk for small intestine cancer
    • Genetic Conditions: Inherited gene mutations that are passed from parents to children can significantly raise small intestine cancer risk. These include familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer (HNPCC or Lynch syndrome), cystic fibrosis, Peutz-Jeghers syndrome and MUTYH-associated polyposis
    • Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Also known as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, this condition is characterized by long-term inflammation of the digestive tract, which can cause cellular changes that lead to small intestine cancer
  • Heavy alcohol use: Some studies found that excessive alcohol consumption (more than 2 drinks a day for men or 1 drink a day for women) raises small intestine cancer risk
  • Tobacco Use: Some studies link smoking to a higher small intestine cancer risk
If you suspect that you or a loved one may have an elevated risk of small intestine cancer, please consult with a doctor on preventive and early detection measures that are available.
If you have been diagnosed with small intestine cancer or are looking for a second opinion consultation about your treatment, find out more about  becoming a patient by calling 800-826-HOPE or filling out the Request a New Patient Appointment Online form.