Not everyone with a small bowel NET has symptoms. They can sometimes grow slowly without many signs and symptoms.
When you do have symptoms, they can be caused by the tumour itself or by hormones made by the tumour. Symptoms are often similar to irritable bowel syndrome such as tummy (abdominal) pain and diarrhoea.
Symptoms caused by the tumour itself
Symptoms might include:
Tummy (abdominal) pain
This is usually crampy and comes on quickly and often.
You might lose weight even if you haven't changed your diet.
Changes to your poo
You might notice some changes to your bowel movements (poo). You might have tarry, black poo. Doctors call this melena.
Your poo might be looser than normal (diarrhoea).
Feeling tired (fatigue)
You might feel very tired a lot of the time.
High temperature (fever)
You might have a high temperature or feel feverish.
Feeling or being sick
You might feel sick (nausea). You might be sick (vomit) with or without feeling sick before.
Bleeding in the digestive system
Rarely small bowel NETs can cause bleeding. Bleeding into the digestive system (stomach, bowel or back passage), can cause:
- black bowel motions
- vomiting blood
- a swollen tummy (abdomen)
- difficulty swallowing
Symptoms caused by hormones
Some small bowel NETs make hormones that go into the bloodstream. Doctors call these functioning tumours. These hormones can cause symptoms that don’t seem related to the tumour. Doctors call this collection of symptoms carcinoid syndrome. It is more likely to happen if the small bowel NET has spread to other parts of the body, especially the liver.
The symptoms might include:
Flushing of the skin
The skin of your face, neck and chest may look red (flushed).
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).
Wheezing is a whistling sound when you breathe.
You may feel that your heart is beating very quickly. This can make you feel dizzy, breathless and tired.
When to see your doctor
What happens next?
We have information on seeing your GP and the tests you might have.