Neuroendocrine tumors are tumors affecting neuroendocrine cells which are found throughout the body. These cells interact with the nerves in your body, and can also be present in glands that produce hormones. Despite the fact that neuroendocrine cells are largely distributed across the body, the most affected areas with neuroendocrine tumors are; the abdomen including small intestines, pancreas, appendix, rectum, lungs, and adrenal glands. Some of the neuroendocrine tumors can be subcategorized into two general classes namely carcinoid tumors i.e. tumors in the gastrointestinal tract, lung, and thymus, and pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors, which basically consists of tumor in the pancreas or within the pancreatic region. 
How Long Will It Take To Recover From Neuroendocrine Tumors?
Treatment for neuroendocrine tumors is dependent on the type of tumor, it is stage and grade, possible side effects of treatment as well as the patient’s preferences and overall health. The various treatment options that are available for patients with neuroendocrine tumors include surgery, medication therapy – somatostatin analogs, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy and radiotherapy.
For surgery, the aim of the procedure is to remove the tumor and surrounding healthy tissue in an attempt to cure cancer. If successful, then recovery from the tumor will be fast and within several weeks, you will have recovered from the surgery too. If complete removal of the tumor is not a viable option, then debulking surgery is considered to remove as much of the tumor as possible. Only benefit mat be temporal relief of symptoms, but the tumor will still be lurking around. As a preventive measure, other treatments may be prescribed to control the tumor and its symptoms, which may take a while longer to fully get rid of the tumor.
Somatostatin analogs are drugs that are similar to somatostatin, which is a hormone in the body that controls the release of several other hormones. They are used to control the symptoms created by the hormone-like substances released by a neuroendocrine tumor. They may also help slow the growth of the tumor but don’t necessarily shrink/decrease its size. Chemotherapy basically is the use of drugs that kill the cancerous cells in the body. Such a treatment may encompass only one drug or several cancer-killing drugs. They are given in a specific time schedule, which can be on a daily, weekly, or even monthly basis depending on the spread and severity of the tumor.
Targeted therapy entails treatment aimed at inhibiting tumor growth and its metastasis. This is directed at the genes, proteins, and tissue that are contributing to the tumor, so as to manage the tumor and its symptoms altogether. As for immunotherapy, the treatment is aimed at boosting the body’s immune system, which can be done by stimulating the body or introducing agents which will boost your immunity to fight against the tumor. Radiation therapy refers to the use of high-energy x-rays or other particles to destroy the cancerous cells. This kind of treatment is administered in a regimen, or schedule, with a number of sessions over a given time period.
How Long Does The Symptoms Last?
Most neuroendocrine tumors do not cause any signs or symptoms, thus difficult to diagnose the condition. Even when symptoms are present, they are usually vague and dependent on the location of the tumor. In cases where the has affected the lungs, the patient may exhibit symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pains, wheezing, skin flushing especially around the face and neck, and weight gain around the midsection and upper back. If the tumor is in the digestive tract, a patient may show signs of abdominal pain, rectal bleeding and pain, diarrhea as well as vomiting and bowel obstruction.
The recovery period of patients with neuroendocrine tumors is dependent on the location, the type of tumor, it is a stage, as well as the mode of treatment applied. Surgery is the basic treatment for neuroendocrine tumors, and as long as the surgery is a success, then the recovery period will be shorter. For cases where chemotherapy and other medical therapies are considered, then the recovery period may take a little while longer since it may be a while before they’re fully effective. Needless say, some treatments only help manage symptoms of the tumor and not reduce it. On the other hand, symptoms can only persist for as long as a patient hasn’t sought any medical attention, or else if the condition isn’t improving even after treatment has been initiated.
- What Is A Low-Grade Neuroendocrine Tumor & Are Neuroendocrine Tumors Always Cancerous?
- Where Do Neuroendocrine Tumors Originate & Where Are Neuroendocrine Cells Found?