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Should I see a carcinoid tumour specialist?

Men and women discussing carcinoid cancer

This page tells you about seeing a carcinoid (neuroendocrine) tumour specialist.

 

A quick guide to what's on this page

Should I see a carcinoid tumour specialist?

It can be very difficult for GPs to decide who may have a carcinoid (neuroendocrine) tumour and who may have something more minor that will go away on its own. With many symptoms, your GP is perfectly right to ask you to wait to see if they get better. But if your GP thinks your symptoms could be due to cancer, they should refer you to a specialist. You should ideally get an appointment within 2 weeks.

About referral guidelines

There are guidelines to help GPs decide who should be seen urgently by a specialist. However, there aren’t any specific guidelines for carcinoid tumours because they are rare and the symptoms can be so varied. So your doctor will look at your symptoms to decide which kind of specialist you need to see. For instance, if you have bowel problems, you will see a doctor specialising in diseases of the bowel. 

If you are diagnosed with carcinoid, they will refer you to a team of doctors who have expertise in treating these tumours. 

If you are still worried

If you are concerned that your GP is not taking your symptoms seriously enough, it might be helpful to print this page and our page about the symptoms of carcinoid. You can take them to your GP and ask them to talk them through with you.

 

CR PDF Icon You can view and print the quick guides for all the pages in the about carcinoid section.

 

 

Who should see a specialist

It can be very difficult for GPs to decide who may have a carcinoid tumour and who may have something more minor that will go away on its own. With many symptoms, your GP is perfectly right to ask you to wait to see if they get better, or respond to treatment such as antibiotics.

Seeing a specialist

If GPs referred everyone who came to see them to a specialist immediately, the system would get jammed and people needing urgent appointments wouldn't be able to get them. But if your GP thinks your symptoms could be due to cancer, they should refer you to a specialist urgently. You should ideally get an appointment within 2 weeks.

 

About referral guidelines

There are guidelines to help GPs in the UK decide who should be seen urgently by a specialist.

However, there aren’t any specific guidelines for carcinoid tumours because they are rare and the symptoms can be so varied. So your doctor will look at your symptoms to decide which kind of specialist you need to see. For instance, if you have bowel problems, you will see a doctor specialising in diseases of the bowel. 

If you are diagnosed with a carcinoid tumour, they will refer you to a team of doctors who have expertise in treating these tumours.

 

If you are still worried

If you are concerned that your GP is not taking your symptoms seriously enough, it might be helpful to print this page and the page about the symptoms of carcinoid, and take them with you when you see your doctor.

Ask your GP to talk your symptoms through with you. Then you may be able to decide together whether you need to see a specialist.

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Updated: 28 May 2016