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    Carcinoid Syndrome

    What Is Carcinoid Syndrome?

    Carcinoid syndrome is a group of symptoms you might get if you already have a type of cancer called carcinoid tumors. It starts when the tumors release chemicals into your bloodstream. The symptoms can be similar to other illnesses, like asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, and menopause. You may have episodes when your skin suddenly gets red and warm, you have trouble breathing, or you have a rapid heartbeat, for example.

    Carcinoid tumors usually grow in your stomach and intestines, but you can also get them in your lungs, pancreas, or rarely, testicles or ovaries. If you have carcinoid syndrome, it usually means that your cancer has spread to another area, most often your lungs or liver.

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    Although there's no cure for carcinoid tumors, treatments can help you live longer and better. You can also take steps to relieve the symptoms of carcinoid syndrome and feel more comfortable.

    You have control over decisions about your treatment and your life. Find people you can talk to about your plans, your fears, and your feelings. Ask your doctor about support groups, where you can meet people who understand what you're going through.

    Causes

    You get carcinoid syndrome when your carcinoid tumors release hormones and proteins into your body. Where your tumors are will determine what substances they make.

    When the tumors are in your digestive tract, a common place for them to grow, extra hormones usually go into a blood vessel that takes them to your liver. If your tumors have spread there, your liver won't be able to do its job of breaking down those hormones. Instead, they may start moving through your bloodstream to affect different parts of your body.

    You could get carcinoid syndrome from tumors in the lungs, testes, or ovaries. In those cases, the extra hormones go directly into your bloodstream.

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