Health Encyclopedia

Cancer of the Small Intestine

What is Cancer of the Small Intestine?

The small intestine is a long tube that folds many times to fit inside the abdomen. It connects the stomach to the large intestine (the bowel), and breaks down food to remove vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.

Cancer occurs as the result of abnormal cell growth within the small intestine. There are four types of cancer of the small intestine, depending upon the type of cancer cells found.

Types of Cancers in the Small Intestines

  • Adenocarcinoma: Most common type; begins in the lining of the small intestine, usually near the stomach.
  • Lymphoma: Usually non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma; begins in the lymph tissue in the small intestine.
  • Leiomyoarcoma: Start growing in the smooth muscle lining of the small intestine
  • Carcinoid Tumors

Common Symptoms of Cancer of the Small Intestine

  • Pain or cramps in the middle of the abdomen
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • A lump in the abdomen
  • Blood in the stool

These symptoms may be caused by cancer or by other types of medical problems. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, see your doctor.

Diagnosing Cancer of the Small Intestine

If symptoms are present, your doctor will perform a physical exam and may prescribe various tests to find the cause of these symptoms. Tests may include:

  • Upper GI Series
  • CT (or CAT) scan
  • MRI
  • Biopsy


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