Di­ag­nos­ing NETs

Friday - - Health -

Neu­roen­docrine tu­mours (NETs) are slow-grow­ing tu­mours, which de­velop in the en­docrine sys­tem – the cells, glands and tis­sues that se­crete hor­mones. They are most com­monly found in the re­s­pi­ra­tory and di­ges­tive tracts, as well as in the adrenal glands, pan­creas, thy­roid and pi­tu­itary.

Dr Vikram Hun­dia, a specialist en­docri­nol­o­gist at the Al Zahra Pri­vate Hospi­tal in Dubai, says symp­toms de­pend on where the tu­mour is, but many pa­tients with NETs suf­fer ab­dom­i­nal pain, di­ar­rhoea and other symp­toms in­clud­ing wheez­ing, con­sti­pa­tion, rec­tal bleed­ing and in­testi­nal block­ages. “These tu­mours can take be­tween five and 10 years to di­ag­nose be­cause the symp­toms are non-spe­cific,” says Dr Hun­dia.

“Un­for­tu­nately they can be nasty and they can metas­ta­sise [spread]. Di­ag­no­sis usu­ally in­volves blood tests and a 24-hour urine test as well as scans.” He adds that, where pos­si­ble, re­moval by surgery is the pre­ferred treat­ment.

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