About Neuroendocrine Tumors

About Neuroendocrine Tumors (NETs)

At Penn Medicine, patients with neuroendocrine tumors receive their care from a multidisciplinary team of nationally recognized experts in the diagnosis, treatment and research of cancer.

Penn's Neuroendocrine Tumor Program treats the following:

  • Gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (GEP-NETs)
    • Alimentary tract (carcinoid tumors)
    • Pancreatic endocrine tumors (PETs)
  • Pheochromocytomas/paragangliomas (PHEOs)
  • Other neuroendocrine tumors (NETs)

Penn Medicine offers one of the only dedicated NET programs in the country with the combined expertise to treat both GEP-NETs and PHEOs. In addition, Penn's program is the first and only one of its kind in the mid-Atlantic region.

Penn Medicine's multidisciplinary approach to cancer diagnosis and treatment provides better outcomes and gives patients access to the most advanced treatment, surgical techniques and clinical trials.

Because navigating a cancer diagnosis and treatment options can be difficult, patients who wish to connect with a cancer specialist at Penn Medicine can speak with a cancer nurse, who can help them make an appointment with the right physician.

To connect with a cancer nurse at Penn Medicine, patients should call 800-789-PENN (7366).

About Neuroendocrine Tumors

Neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) form from cells that release hormones in response to a signal from the nervous system. Some examples of neuroendocrine tumors are carcinoid tumors, islet cell tumors, phechromocytomas and Merkel cell cancers.

Neuroendocrine tumors are often small and can be malignant (cancerous) or benign (non-cancerous). Carcinoid tumors most commonly develop in the gastrointestinal tract including the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, appendix and colon. Rarely, carcinoid tumors occur in the lungs and bronchial tissue. Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (PETs) typically develop in the pancreas and duodenum.

Not all NETs cause symptoms. However, because they originate from hormone producing tissues, the symptoms they cause can be linked to the release of various hormones into the blood stream causing:

  • Facial flushing
  • Diarrhea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Abdominal pain
  • Low blood sugar
  • Wheezing
  • A feeling of abdominal fullness

Read more About Neuroendocrine Tumors (NETs)

Diagnosing Neuroendocrine Tumors (NETs)

An accurate diagnosis from trusted tumor specialists is the first step in getting personalized treatment options to treat neuroendocrine tumors.

Patients who choose Penn Medicine, benefit from a multidisciplinary team of cancer and tumor specialists including gastroenterologists, radiologists, pathologists and surgeons who work together to provide a diagnosis and treatment plan designed specifically for each patient with neuroendocrine tumors.

Cancer specialists at Penn Medicine are highly experienced in using the most advanced techniques for diagnosing cancer and are actively researching better and more precise ways to detect neuroendocrine tumors.

Navigating a cancer diagnosis and treatment options can be difficult, patients who wish to connect with a cancer specialist at Penn Medicine can speak with a cancer nurse, who can help them make an appointment with the right person. Penn Medicine’s contact center has experienced cancer nurses available and ready to guide patients in finding the cancer specialist right for them.

To connect with a cancer nurse at Penn Medicine, patients should call 800-789-PENN (7366).

Read more Diagnosing Neuroendocrine Tumors (NETs)

Neuroendocrine Tumor (NET) Treatment

Penn Medicine offers one of the only dedicated neuroendocrine tumor (NET) programs in the country with the combined expertise to treat both gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (GEP-NETs) and pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas (PHEOs). In addition, Penn Medicine’s program is the first and only one of its kind in the region.

Following the diagnosis and staging of neuroendocrine tumors, cancer specialists at Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center develop a personalized treatment plan. Penn’s treatment options for neuroendocrine tumors include:

  • Surgery
    • Local and local-regional excision
    • Debulking surgery, including liver resection
    • Radiofrequency ablation
    • Liver transplantation
  • Chemotherapy and biologic therapies
    • Hormone therapy
      • Octreotide
      • Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs)
    • Liver-directed therapies
      • Ethanol injection
      • Chemoembolization of the hepatic artery
    • Chemotherapy
    • Targeted therapy
  • External-beam radiation therapy
  • Clinical trials
  • Other treatments
    • Integrative medicine and wellness
    • Palliative care
    • Penn Home Care and Hospice

Because navigating a cancer diagnosis and its treatment options can be difficult, patients who wish to connect with a cancer specialist at Penn Medicine can speak with a cancer nurse, who can assist in making an appointment with the right physician.

To connect with a cancer nurse at Penn Medicine, patients should call 800-789-PENN.

Read more Neuroendocrine Tumor (NET) Treatment

Neuroendocrine Tumor Survivorship

Patients with neuroendocrine tumors may require more follow-up care than other patients.

Some neuroendocrine tumor patients may require follow-up treatment using biotherapies, or other medications. Others may require more frequent imaging tests. Patients at Penn Medicine receive a personalized survivorship care plan that addresses all issues from follow-up care to the physical, emotional and financial complications that can occur long after their therapy is complete.

Survivorship programs at Penn Medicine are a distinct phase of neuroendocrine tumor care and are designed to help patients' transition from treatment to a post-treatment lifestyle.

Read more Neuroendocrine Tumor (NET) Survivorship


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