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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
  • To shrink a tumour before surgery
  • After surgery

You may have chemotherapy together with other treatments, including a somatostatin analogue. The type of chemotherapy depends on where your carcinoid tumour is.

Side effects of chemotherapy

The side effects you may have include feeling sick, hair loss, a drop in blood cell counts, 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.

Chemotherapy seems to work better for some types of carcinoid than others. We know from research that carcinoid that responds to somatostatin analogues may not respond so well to chemotherapy. We need more research into which chemotherapy drugs work best for each type of carcinoid tumour.

 

Chemotherapy drugs used for carcinoid

The type of chemotherapy depends on where your carcinoid tumour is. For carcinoid of the digestive system, doctors use a combination of some of these drugs

If your carcinoid is affecting your lung, the drugs that doctors usually give are

 

Side effects of carcinoid chemotherapy

The 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.

Some studies seem to suggest that fish oil preparations may reduce the effectiveness of chemotherapy drugs. If you are taking or thinking of taking these supplements talk to your doctor to find out whether they could affect your treatment.

 

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 chemotherapy, contact our cancer information nurses. They would be happy to help.

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Updated: 16 January 2014