About Small Intestine Cancer
Small intestine cancers occur in the small bowel—an important part of the gastrointestinal tract—which is responsible for breaking down food and absorbing its nutrients. Small intestinal cancer is a relatively rare disease that typically only occurs in later ages.
Where is Small Intestine Cancer Located?
The small intestine plays an important role in the digestion of food. Once food reaches the stomach, it begins to break down the particles by combining the food with gastric juices found in the digestive tract. From there, it heads to the small intestine, which is composed of three parts:
The various types of small intestinal cancer can originate in any of these three locations, but typically will begin in the duodenum.
How Does it Impact your Body?
Small intestine cancer develops in a similar manner to colorectal cancer. It starts as a small polyps form on the inner tissue lining of the intestine that evolves into cancer over time. If allowed to grow, the once non-invasive polyps are likely to evolve into small intestine tumors that will eventually move to lymph nodes and other regions of the body, resulting in organ failure and other harrowing symptoms, such as severe abdominal pain.
Are There Different Types of Small Intestine Cancer?
There are four primary types of small intestine cancer:
- Adenocarcinoma – Begins in the gland cells of the intestine and accounts for roughly 33% of all small intestine cancers.
- Lymphomas – Develop in the lymphocytes of the small intestine.
- Carcinoid tumors – Neuroendocrine tumors that grow slowly in the bowel wall of the small intestine.
- Sarcomas – Develop in the muscle tissue of the gastrointestinal tract.
Sinus Cancer Statistics
Small intestine cancer is not a common cancer. It accounts for 10% of all gastrointestinal types of stomach cancer and less than 1% of all cancers in total. The American Cancer Society estimates that roughly 10,500 people will develop a form of small intestine cancer per year—most of which are people in their 60’s or 70’s. Because cancer spreads rapidly, if not treated, this specific type of cancer can ultimately affect the large intestine, as well as lead to colon cancer or rectal cancer.
Causes and Risk Factors
Although the underlying reason for its development is unknown, there are indeed risk factors, particularly for adenocarcinomas, including:
- Age – Happens later in life.
- GI Diseases – Gastrointestinal issues such as Celiac disease and Crohn’s disease.
- Race – Black people, particularly black men, are more likely to develop it than people of other ethnicities.
- Sex – Occurs more frequently in men than in women.
- Smoking and alcohol – The more you drink or smoke, the more likely you are to develop the disease.
Early Detection, Diagnosis, and Staging
Signs and Symptoms of Small Intestine Cancer
Symptoms of small intestine cancer are quite similar to less serious GI issues or diseases. As a result, early detection is difficult and it can take months to have symptoms that are clearly linked to small intestine cancer. Still, due to the fact that cancer spreads quickly, signs you should be aware of include:
- Darkly-colored stool, resulting from blood in the intestine
- Feeling of cramps
- Involuntary weight loss
- Low red blood cell counts
- Pain in the abdomen
The Different Stages of Small Intestine Cancer
Small intestine cancer will go through several stages, from 0 to IV. These are:
- Stage 0 – Cancer is only in the top layers of cells of the mucosa—the epithelium—and hasn’t penetrated deeper. There is no cancer in the lymph nodes or distant regions of the body, such as the large intestine, colon or rectum.
- Stage I – The cancer has sunk into or gone through the deeper layers of the mucosa or the lamina propria. Cancer cells have yet to reach the lymph nodes or other parts of the body.
- Stage II – The cancer has penetrated the muscularis propria and reached the subserosa. It hasn’t reached the lymph nodes or other bodily regions.
- Stage III – The cancer has grown into the bowel wall of the small intestine. It has spread to local lymph nodes but hasn’t migrated to other parts of the body.
- Stage IV – The cancer has grown into the layers of the wall of the small intestine. It has spread to both the lymph nodes and organs nearby. At this stage, therapy will not be centralized on solely the small intestine.
Alternative / Natural Treatment of this Small Intestine Cancer
Chemo, radiation therapy, and other traditional cancer treatments involving surgery are incredibly destructive to your body and immune system. Today, there’s a better way—a holistic way. At Immunity Therapy Center, we provide a host of alternative treatments that are meant to boost your immune system and help the body fight off cancer cells naturally.
At ITC, Dr. Bautista works with patients to create the most effective small intestine cancer treatment plan possible, combining both common and alternative methods. At ITC, our patients meet with doctors daily to see how they’re responding to therapies and whether adjustments need to be made.
Our goal is to provide our patients with a safe, effective, and natural way to beat their cancer. If you would like to see your holistic cancer treatment options, please reach out today and let us see how we can partner with you—aiding you in your conquest.
- The American Cancer Society. About Small Intestine Cancer. https://www.cancer.org/content/dam/cancer-org/cancer-control/en/cancer-types/small-intestine-cancer-complete.pdf
- Cancer.gov. Small Intestine Cancer Treatment. https://www.cancer.gov/types/small-intestine/patient/small-intestine-treatment-pdq#_29
- Cancer.org. Signs and Symptoms of Small Intestine Cancer. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/small-intestine-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/signs-symptoms.html
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