Chemotherapy for carcinoid | Cancer Research UK
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Chemotherapy for carcinoid

Chemotherapy uses anti cancer (cytotoxic) drugs to destroy cancer cells. Chemotherapy isn’t usually a first choice of treatment for carcinoid. But you may have it

  • If you can’t have surgery
  • If you have a fast growing tumour
  • If it has spread to other parts of the body
  • To shrink a tumour before surgery
  • After surgery

You may have chemotherapy together with other treatments, including a somatostatin analogue such as octreotide. The type of chemotherapy you have depends on a number of factors including where your tumour started and how fast it is growing (it's grade).

Side effects of chemotherapy

The general side effects of chemotherapy include feeling sick (nausea), hair loss, a drop in blood cell counts which causes an increased risk of infection, fatigue (feeling tired and weak), and changes in how your kidneys work.

 

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

 

 

What chemotherapy is

Chemotherapy uses anti cancer (cytotoxic) drugs to destroy cancer cells. These drugs work by disrupting the growth of cancer cells. The drugs circulate in the bloodstream around the body.

 

When you might have chemotherapy for carcinoid

Chemotherapy isn’t generally a first choice of treatment for carcinoid. But you may have it

  • If you can’t have surgery
  • If you have a fast growing tumour
  • To shrink a tumour before surgery
  • After surgery

You may have chemotherapy together with other treatments, including a somatostatin analogue such as octreotide.

Read about somatostatin analogues.

Chemotherapy seems to work better for some types of carcinoid than others. Researchers continue to look into this and what the best combination of chemotherapy drugs is. Your doctor may offer you treatment as part of a clinical trial, if one is available.

 

Chemotherapy drugs used for carcinoid

The type of chemotherapy you have depends on different factors including where your tumour started and how fast it is growing (its grade). You may have a combination of 2 or 3 of these drugs

Click on the links above to find out more about each drug and their side effects.

 

Side effects of chemotherapy

The general side effects you may have from chemotherapy for carcinoid include

 

Dietary or herbal supplements and chemotherapy

We don't yet know much scientifically about how some nutritional or herbal supplements may interact with chemotherapy. Some could be harmful. It is very important to let your doctors know if you take any supplements. Or if you are prescribed them by alternative or complementary therapy practitioners.

Talk to your specialist about any other tablets or medicines you take while you are having active treatment. There is information about the safety of herbal, vitamin and diet supplements in our complementary therapies section.

 

More information about chemotherapy

You can find detailed information about chemotherapy in our chemotherapy section. It explains about

If you would like more detailed information about having chemotherapy, contact our cancer information nurses. They would be happy to help.

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Updated: 25 June 2016