Rare Yet Serious Cancer on the Rise
Gastrointestinal and pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors, also known as gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (GEP-NETs), are rare tumors formed from cells that have roles in both the endocrine and the nervous system. GEP-NETs usually remain undiagnosed for years and patients are often misdiagnosed with Crohn’s disease or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). As a result of the delay to identify GEP-NETs, most patients are diagnosed while in the advanced stages of the disease, which often leads to a poor prognosis. Most people (75 percent) with GEP-NETs already have liver metastases at diagnosis.
There are an estimated 112,000 individuals currently living with neuroendocrine tumors in the U.S., and the incidence and prevalence of this type of cancer have risen four to six-fold in the last 30 years. Signs and symptoms include diarrhea, constipation and abdominal pain, along with wheezing, flushing and heart palpitations.