Navigating Neuroendocrine Cancer
More than 12,000 people are diagnosed with Neuroendocrine tumors each year. NET is a rare type of cancer that forms from Neuroendocrine cells. These specialized cells work by releasing hormones into your body in response to signals that are sent from your brain. NET is commonly found in the digestive tract, pancreas, rectum, and lungs, but it can also be located anywhere in the body.
NET is usually a slow-growing tumor and can go unnoticed for years, but some do grow very quickly. There are two types of distinguishing factors that help to indicate diagnosis and treatment.
- If it is a Functional Neuroendocrine Tumor, it releases excess hormones
- And if it’s a Nonfunctional Neuroendocrine Tumor, it releases little to no hormones and therefore there are no symptoms.
Depending on the type of NET, functional or nonfunctional, your doctor can determine a treatment plan that would work best for the type, location, and aggression of your tumors.
What are some of the symptoms of NET?
Due to its secretive nature, NET symptoms are commonly mistaken for other diseases like Crohn’s and IBS. However, depending on location and the type of NET, it can go unnoticed for years. Some signs that you may have a Neuroendocrine Tumor is a lump or pain from a growing tumor, unusual weight loss, and tiredness.
Other symptoms of NET:
- Skin flushing
- Frequent urination
- Increased thirst
- Skin rash
How do I help relieve the symptoms of NET?
After any cancer diagnosis, everyone worries that the symptoms and side effects of cancer/ cancer treatment will control their life. There are many different options that your doctor may suggest helping reduce the size and symptoms of your NET, such as:
- Surgery by removing the tumor and, in some cases, the whole infected gland to stop the number of hormones being created.
- Chemotherapy and radiation to help shrink the size of the tumor and help reduce the number of hormones being sent into your body
With any type of cancer treatment, many side effects come with it like diarrhea, nausea, dehydration, and weight loss. Below are some tips to help relieve the effects of fighting NET so that you may live as normally as possible.
- Hydration– Drinking fluids is important because when you have diarrhea you will lose a lot of sodium and water which can cause dehydration. Drinking fluids like sports drinks tend to be better than water because of their sodium content. Stay away from drinks like coffee and soda. Caffeine is a diuretic and will cause you to have to go to the bathroom more than you already are. These drinks are also acidic and don’t tend to mix well with an already upset stomach.
2. Eating smaller meals– Eat smaller meals throughout the day that are bland and won’t upset your stomach more. Excess diarrhea results in an increased loss in potassium, so adding foods rich in potassium like bananas and cooked spinach can be helpful. Furthermore, make sure to limit eating too much fiber or dairy products as they can cause diarrhea to worsen.
3.Probiotics- Probiotics are great in helping with GI distress. Probiotics are made up of good bacteria that are naturally found in your gut. They are said to help alleviate diarrhea. Some foods that you can find probiotics in are yogurt, dietary supplements, and kombucha.
4.Enterade- Enterade is a clinically proven medical food that can help alleviate the side effects of cancer treatment as well as the symptoms of NET. Enterade is unlike protein shakes or sports drinks because its ingredients help to rebuild the villi that are found in your gut while also keeping you hydrated. Unlike most sports drinks, enterade is sugar-free, sugar is known to exacerbate diarrhea. To learn more, go to “embed Link” or find Enterade on Amazon.