The small intestine, also known as small bowel, is placed between the stomach and the colon. It is about 6m long and its main function is to digest and absorb nutrients. Some of the most common cancerous tumours of the small bowel include adenocarcinoma, lymphoma, sarcoma, and carcinoids.
The cancer of the small intestine occurs relatively in smaller number. The frequency of tumours in other parts of the GI tract is higher. Cancer is more common in the large bowel than the small bowel. The risk factors in the general population for small intestine cancer can include the following:
Just like any GI cancer, the early symptoms of bowel cancer are vague and nonspecific. They may include some discomfort in the abdomen followed by:
When the disease gets advanced, it shows the following signs:
In most of the cases, doctors usually perform a barium contrast study of the small intestine. The upper GI tract endoscopy can also be useful in detecting areas of concern in the immediate upper GI tract.
The survival rates of the disease are often used by doctors as a standard way of discussing a patient’s prognosis. The 5-year survival rate is the percentage of patients who live at least 5 years after the cancer is diagnosed. Many people do live longer than 5 years. People with small intestinal cancer can die of other things also.
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