Carcinoid tumors are a type of rare, slow-growing cancer that can occur in several areas throughout your body. They are one subset of tumors called neuroendocrine tumors, which usually grow and can be found in two areas of the body: the digestive tract and the lungs. Carcinoid tumors can produce and release hormones into the body which can cause a variety of symptoms such as diarrhea and skin redness; however, usually symptoms don’t occur until late into the disease. Like other types of cancer, treatment options for carcinoid tumors usually depend on the severity of the condition and most often includes surgery and taking prescriptive medications.



The most common signs and symptoms of carcinoid lung tumors are:

  • Chest pain
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Diarrhea
  • Tiredness
  • Skin rednes
  • Weight gain
  • Infection
  • Chronic cough


The most common signs and symptoms of carcinoid tumors in the digestive tract are:

  • Stomach pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Sickness/vomiting
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Redness of the skin



Cancer occurs when a cell develops mutations in its DNA. The mutations allow the cell to continue growing and dividing when healthy cells would normally die and thus the accumulating cells form a tumor. Carcinoid tumors develop in neuroendocrine cells and these cells are found in different organs throughout the body (stomach, small intestine, appendix, colon, rectum or lungs).


Risk factors

There are some factors that may cause risk increase of developing carcinoid tumors. These risk factors include:

  • Being of older age
  • Being female
  • Being of African-American race
  • Being a smoker
  • Having a family history of carcinoid tumors
  • Certain stomach conditions



Possible complications that may arise from development of carcinoid tumors may include the following:

  • Cushing’s syndrome: A condition that occurs from exposure to high cortisol levels for a long time.
  • Carcinoid syndrome: A condition that causes redness of the skin, diarrhea, difficulty breathing and other symptoms.
  • Carcinoid heart disease: A condition that is caused by thickening of the lining of heart chambers, valves and blood vessels and can lead to leaky heart valves or heart failure.