Carcinoid Tumors. Definition

Medical Definition: Carcinoid Tumors

A heterogeneous group of malignant tumors that originate from neuroendocrine cells, characterized by the production of biogenic amines and polypeptide hormones. Most are generally located in the gastrointestinal tract, but can also occur in the pancreas, gallbladder and bile ducts, bronchus, lung, ovary, thyroid, and urogenital tract. These cancer cells continue to secrete certain hormones into the bloodstream. In about 10% of people, carcinoid tumors secrete high amounts of hormones that can cause facial flushing, difficulty breathing, diarrhea, and accelerated heartbeat. Unlike most cancers, which cause symptoms only in the organs where they originated or spread, carcinoids secrete a substance into the bloodstream that cause symptoms throughout the body.

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