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Find out why there is no general screening programme for carcinoid tumours.

What screening is

Screening means testing people for early stages of an illness before they have any symptoms. For screening to be useful the tests:

  • must be reliable at picking up the illness
  • must be simple and quick
  • overall must do more good than harm to people taking part

Why we don't screen for carcinoid tumours

There is no general screening programme for carcinoid tumours because they are rare, so many people would have unnecessary tests.

With uncommon diseases, it is most cost effective to screen people who are thought to be at a higher risk.  But first we must be sure that we know who is at higher risk. 

What to do if you think you're at higher risk

You can talk to your doctor if you think you might be at a higher than average risk of developing carcinoid. For example, if you have a particular medical condition. They might be able to arrange for you to have regular check ups.

People with the rare inherited family syndrome called multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN 1) have an increased risk of developing tumours, including carcinoid. Most carcinoid tumours are not related to MEN 1. 

If you do have MEN 1, your doctor might suggest you have regular tests to check for tumours.

Last reviewed: 
19 May 2016
  • Guidelines for the management of gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine (including carcinoid) tumours (NETs)
    JK Ramage and others
    Gut 2012, Volume 61, Issue 1

  • Guidelines for diagnosis and therapy of MEN Type 1 and Type 2
    ML Brandi and others
    Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 2001. Volume 86, Issue 12

  • Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology (10th edition)
    VT DeVita , TS Lawrence, SA Rosenberg
    Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins, 2015

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