Many people with a stomach neuroendocrine tumour (NET) do not have any symptoms. Doctors often diagnose a stomach NET when looking for something else.
Stomach NETs might be found during an endoscopy test to investigate:
- unexplained and unspecific abdominal (tummy) problems
- having low amounts of red blood cells (anaemia)
An endoscopy is a test that looks inside the body. The endoscope is a long flexible tube which has a tiny camera and light on the end of it.
If you do have symptoms, they might be non specific and be similar to other conditions that aren’t a neuroendocrine tumour. These symptoms might be caused by the tumour itself. Or they might be caused by a NET that has spread to a different part of the body.
You might have pain that comes and goes. Some people have pain for several years before a diagnosis of a neuroendocrine tumour.
Feeling or being sick
You might be feeling sick (nauseous) and be sick.
Breathlessness or looking pale
You might feel breathless or look pale. Rarely stomach NETs can cause bleeding in the digestive system. Over time this causes a drop in the number of red blood cells in your blood (anaemia). It is this that can make you feel breathless or look pale.
Dark poo (blood in your stool) or blood in vomit
Your poo may be darker, almost black, if your stomach is bleeding. Or if you’re sick you might see blood in your vomit. These are symptoms of bleeding in the digestive system.
You might lose weight even if you haven't changed your diet.
Diarrhoea means having more than 3 watery poos (stools) in a 24 hour period. You might also have diarrhoea at night and problems controlling your bowels (incontinence).
You might have ongoing diarrhoea, that can’t be explained.
Some stomach NETs that have spread to the liver might cause a collection of symptoms called carcinoid syndrome. This is rare.
When to see your GP
You should see your doctor if you have any of these symptoms, or other changes that are unusual for you or that won't go away. Your symptoms are unlikely to be cancer but it is important to get them checked by a doctor.
Find out more about seeing your GP, when you might be referred to a specialist and the tests used to diagnose stomach NETs.