Carcinoid tumours of the lung are slow growing tumours, which usually don't produce symptoms in the early stages. Most cases of lung carcinoids are diagnosed around 60 years of age. About 25% of cases with carcinoid lung tumours are asymptomatic (have no symptoms) on diagnosis. They may be diagnosed accidentally when a routine chest X-ray is done for some unrelated medical problem.
Symptoms and severity of carcinoid tumours of the lung depend on;
Some common symptoms, which may occur in a person with carcinoid lung tumours, are:
Similar symptoms are often caused by lung infection. Therefore, some patients may be wrongly diagnosed with lung infection and treated with antibiotics. When the symptoms fail to resolve with treatment, the possibility of a tumour is considered and the patient is further investigated.
Some lung carcinoid tumours may secrete hormone-like substances. The body reacts to these substances and causes some specific symptoms. The term carcinoid syndrome is used to refer to symptoms, which are caused due to hormone-like substances produced by the carcinoid tumours. Hormone-like substances, however, are rarely secreted by lung carcinoid tumours and only 2% of people develop carcinoid syndrome.
In some cases, the symptom/s of various endocrine syndromes (carcinoid syndrome) may be the initial manifestation of carcinoid lung tumours. Symptoms, which may occur in cases with carcinoid syndrome, include the following:
In most cases with carcinoid lung tumours, the tumour grows slowly. The tumour may become malignant and therefore, spread to other parts of the body (metastasis). Symptoms of the disease in cases of metastatic disease include the following besides other symptoms: