People with carcinoid syndrome may have:
Carcinoid syndrome can also cause complications. It's rare, but you could get heart disease. Your heart valves may get thick and leak. Medicine can help, and in some cases you might need surgery.
Carcinoid crisis isn't very common, but you might have a severe episode of blushing, breathing trouble, and confusion. This is an emergency that could be life-threatening, so get medical help right away.
Getting a Diagnosis
If your doctor thinks you have carcinoid syndrome, he'll do a physical exam and may ask you questions like:
- Have there been times when your skin suddenly got red and felt warm or burning?
- Do you often have diarrhea?
- Have you been short of breath?
- Do you sometimes wheeze?
You may also need tests to look for a carcinoid tumor.
Urine test. A lab will check the pee that you've collected in containers over a 24-hour period for high levels of hormones or what's left when your body breaks them down.
Blood test. This could show telltale substances that tumors release.
Imaging tests. A CT scan is a series of X-rays that makes detailed views of the inside of your body. An MRI uses strong magnets and radio waves to make pictures of your organs. For radionuclide scanning, your doctor will inject you with a small amount of radioactive material that the organs in your body absorb. A special camera can spot the material and make pictures that help your doctor find a tumor.
Questions for Your Doctor
- Where are the tumors that are causing my carcinoid syndrome?
- What kinds of tests will I need?
- What treatment do you recommend?
- Are there any foods I should avoid?
- What can I do to control my skin flushing?
- What other symptoms should I watch out for?
To treat carcinoid syndrome, your doctors will need to treat your tumors. You could need just one or a combination of treatments. Medication may help with your related symptoms.