Small intestine cancer usually begins in an area of the intestine called the duodenum. This cancer is rarer than cancers in other parts of the gastrointestinal system, such as the colon and stomach. Explore the links on this page to learn more about small intestine cancer treatment, statistics, research, and clinical trials.

Small Intestine Cancer Treatment

  • Small intestine cancer is a rare disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the small intestine.
  • There are five types of small intestine cancer.
  • Diet and health history can affect the risk of developing small intestine cancer.
  • Signs and symptoms of small intestine cancer include unexplained weight loss and abdominal pain.
  • Tests that examine the small intestine are used to detect (find), diagnose, and stage small intestine cancer.
  • Certain factors affect prognosis (chance of recovery) and treatment options.

Small intestine cancer is a rare disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the small intestine.

The small intestine is part of the body’s digestive system, which also includes the esophagus, stomach, and large intestine. The digestive system removes and processes nutrients (vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and water) from foods and helps pass waste material out of the body. The small intestine is a long tube that connects the stomach to the large intestine. It folds many times to fit inside the abdomen.

There are five types of small intestine cancer.

The types of cancer found in the small intestine are adenocarcinoma, sarcoma, carcinoid tumors, gastrointestinal stromal tumor, and lymphoma. This summary discusses adenocarcinoma and leiomyosarcoma (a type of sarcoma).

Diet and health history can affect the risk of developing small intestine cancer.

Anything that increases your risk of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Having a risk factor does not mean that you will get cancer; not having risk factors doesn’t mean that you will not get cancer. Talk with your doctor if you think you may be at risk. Risk factors for small intestine cancer include the following:

  • Eating a high-fat diet.
  • Having Crohn disease.
  • Having celiac disease.
  • Having familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP).

Signs and symptoms of small intestine cancer include unexplained weight loss and abdominal pain.

These and other signs and symptoms may be caused by small intestine cancer or by other conditions. Check with your doctor if you have any of the following:

  • Pain or cramps in the middle of the abdomen.
  • Weight loss with no known reason.
  • A lump in the abdomen.
  • Blood in the stool.

Stages of Small Intestine Cancer

  • Tests and procedures to stage small intestine cancer are usually done at the same time as diagnosis.
  • There are three ways that cancer spreads in the body.
  • Cancer may spread from where it began to other parts of the body.
  • Small intestine cancer is grouped according to whether or not the tumor can be completely removed by surgery.

There are different types of treatment for patients with small intestine cancer.

Different types of treatments are available for patients with small intestine cancer. Some treatments are standard (the currently used treatment), and some are being tested in clinical trials. A treatment clinical trial is a research study meant to help improve current treatments or obtain information on new treatments for patients with cancer. When clinical trials show that a new treatment is better than the standard treatment, the new treatment may become the standard treatment. Patients may want to think about taking part in a clinical trial. Some clinical trials are open only to patients who have not started treatment.

What is Cancer?

  • Cancer can start almost anywhere in the human body, which is made up of trillions of cells. Normally, human cells grow and divide to form new cells as the body needs them. When cells grow old or become damaged, they die, and new cells take their place.

  • Cancer prevention is action taken to lower the risk of getting cancer. This can include maintaining a healthy lifestyle, avoiding exposure to known cancer-causing substances, and taking medicines or vaccines that can prevent cancer from developing.

  • Cancer can cause many different symptoms. Most often these symptoms are not caused by cancer, but by benign tumors or other problems. If you have symptoms that last for a couple of weeks, your doctor will do a physical exam and order tests or other procedures to find out what is causing your symptoms.