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Cancer Health Center

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Carcinoid Syndrome: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments

Treatment for Carcinoid Syndrome continued...

Surgery may cure the syndrome if it can remove the entire tumor. Surgery may involve removing the tumor, nearby lymph nodes, and other tissue.

Somatostatin analogues are drugs that block the extra release of hormones that cause the symptoms of carcinoid syndrome. Octreotide is one example of this type of drug. It is typically given by injection. Symptoms such as diarrhea and flushing may lessen quickly. Lanreotide is a similar type of drug that may also help with symptoms. These medications will not reduce the size of the tumor but may help slow its growth.

Other drugs control specific symptoms. Some examples are:

  • Interferon, often given along with octreotide for symptoms and to help slow tumor growth
  • Cyproheptadine, an antihistamine that can be used with carcinoid tumors that release histamines

In addition to surgery, your doctor may treat the spread of the tumor to the liver with:

  • Hepatic artery embolization, which reduces blood supply to the liver tumor
  • Cryoablation, which freezes the tumor
  • Radiofrequency ablation (RFA), which kills tumor cells with heat from electric currents
  • Chemotherapy, which uses drugs to stop the growth of tumor cells
  • Chemoembolization, which delivers a high dose of chemotherapy directly into a blood vessel that feeds the tumor and also blocks the arteries, trapping the drug in the tumor
  • Radiation therapy, which uses high-energy X-rays or other types of radiation to kill tumor cells

Improving Symptoms With Nutrition and Self-Care

You can take steps at home to help with the symptoms of carcinoid syndrome. For example, avoid things that trigger your symptoms. This might include stress, certain types of physical activity, a large meal, alcohol, and some foods such as aged cheeses and other tyramine-containing foods.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Sujana Movva, MD on March 02, 2014
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