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Unusual Cancers of Childhood (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI] - Unusual Cancers of the Abdomen



The prognosis (chance of recovery) depends on the following:

  • Whether the entire tumor was removed by surgery.
  • Whether the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, such as the lymph nodes, liver, pelvis, or ovaries.


Treatment for colorectal cancer in children may include the following:

  • Surgery to remove the tumor when it has not spread.
  • Radiation therapy and chemotherapy for tumors in the rectum or lower colon.
  • Combination chemotherapy.

Children with certain familial colon cancer syndromes may be treated with:

  • Surgery to remove the colon before cancer forms.
  • Medicine to decrease the number of polyps in the colon.

See the following PDQ summaries on adult cancer for more information:

  • Colon Cancer Treatment
  • Rectal Cancer Treatment

Carcinoid Tumors

Carcinoid tumors usually form in the lining of the stomach or intestines, but they can form in other organs, such as the lungs or liver. These tumors are usually small, slow-growing, and benign (not cancer). Some carcinoid tumors are malignant (cancer) and spread to other places in the body. Sometimes carcinoid tumors in children form in the appendix (a pouch that sticks out from the first part of the large intestine near the end of the small intestine). The tumor is often found during surgery to remove the appendix.

Symptoms and Diagnostic and Staging Tests

Some carcinoid tumors release hormones and other substances. If the tumor is in the liver, high amounts of these hormones may remain in the body and cause a group of symptoms called carcinoid syndrome. Carcinoid syndrome caused by the hormone somatostatin may cause any of the following signs and symptoms. Check with your child's doctor if you see any of the following problems in your child:

  • Redness and a warm feeling in the face and neck.
  • A fast heartbeat.
  • Trouble breathing.
  • Sudden drop in blood pressure.
  • Diarrhea.

Other conditions that are not carcinoid tumors may cause these same symptoms.

Tests that check for signs of cancer are used to diagnose and stage carcinoid tumors. They may include:

  • Physical exam and history.
  • Blood chemistry studies.

See the General Information section for a description of these tests and procedures.

Other tests used to diagnose carcinoid tumors include the following:

  • Complete blood count (CBC): A procedure in which a sample of blood is drawn and checked for the following:
    • The number of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.
    • The amount of hemoglobin (the protein that carries oxygen) in the red blood cells.
    • The portion of the blood sample made up of red blood cells.
  • Twenty-four-hour urine test: A test in which urine is collected for 24 hours to measure the amounts of certain substances, such as hormones. An unusual (higher or lower than normal) amount of a substance can be a sign of disease in the organ or tissue that makes it. The urine sample is checked to see if it contains a hormone made by carcinoid tumors. This test is used to help diagnose carcinoid syndrome.

WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: February 25, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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