More Information About Neuroendocrine Tumors Needed

Neuroendocrine tumors are among the rarest types of cancer diagnosed in the United States. Only about 8,000 people each year are diagnosed with a tumor of this nature that typically develops in the gastrointestinal track. With very vague symptoms at onset and such a low diagnosis rate, many patients find the amount of information available to them is limited. What’s more, many doctors are not fully aware of this disease. In some case, patients have to visit multiple doctors to receive an accurate diagnosis and many of the doctors they do see simply are not well informed about its potential.

A recent study that looked at neuroendocrine tumor patients and their perception of the diagnosis and information process cast light on this potential educational gap. A total of 265 patients were surveyed in the study to gain a better understanding of the patient experience. A total of 35 percent of those in the survey said they had to see at least four different doctors before getting a diagnosis. Roughly 38 percent reported they experienced symptoms for more than five years before their tumors were diagnosed. All of that adds up to frustration for patients and the potential loss of valuable treatment time.

While neuroendocrine tumors are a relatively rare diagnosis, researchers say the frequency is increasing. With that in mind, researchers strongly recommend a more aggressive educational campaign for patients and doctors alike in regard to this form of cancer. The estimated survival rate for those diagnosed with NET cancers depends on a number of factors, including the site where the cancer developed and the stage at which detection occurs. Since symptoms of NET cancers can also vary based on the type and site of the cancer, education about this relatively rare type of cancer is especially important. As it is with many forms of cancer, early diagnosis can dramatically improve outcomes.

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