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Small Intestine Cancer

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.

Types of Small Intestine Cancer

  • Adenocarcinoma (most common type which starts in the glandular cells in the lining of the small intestine)
  • Sarcoma
  • Carcinoid tumors
  • Gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST)
  • Lymphoma

Risk Factors

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

Signs and Symptoms

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


The following are tests and procedures that may be used. Download our brochure for more detailed information.

  • Physical exam and health history
  • Blood chemistry studies
  • Liver function tests
  • Endoscopy
  • Laparoscopy
  • Biopsy
  • Upper GI series with small bowel follow-through
  • CT Scan (CAT Scan)
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)

Prognosis Factors

The prognosis and treatment options depend on the following:

  • The type of small intestine cancer.
  • Whether the cancer is in the inner lining of the small intestine only or has spread into or beyond the wall of the small intestine.
  • Whether the cancer has spread to other places in the body such as the lymph nodes, liver, or peritoneum (tissue that lines the wall of the abdomen and covers most of the organs in the abdomen).
  • Whether the cancer can be completely removed by surgery.
  • Whether the cancer is newly diagnosed or has recurred.

Treatment Options

  • Three types of standard treatments are used:
    • Surgery
    • Radiation therapy
    • Chemotherapy
  • New types of treatments are being tested in clinical trials:
    • Biologic therapy
    • Radiation therapy with radiosensitizers

Patients may want to think about taking part in a clinical trial You can enter the trial before, during, or after starting cancer treatment

Download our brochure for more complete information.