Important terms related to pancreatic NET that you should know.
Adenocarcinoma is a type of cancer that grows in a gland, such as the pancreas. Pancreatic adenocarcinoma is the most common type of cancer found in the pancreas. Adenocarcinoma is different than pancreatic NET, which occurs in just 5% of all pancreatic cancer patients.
A term used to describe a tumor that is not cancerous. Benign tumors do not spread to other parts of the body.
A group of cells in the body that grow and divide in an uncontrolled manner and are able to invade and damage nearby tissues and organs. Some cancers can spread to other parts of the body and threaten a person’s health. A pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor (or pancreatic NET) is a very rare type of cancer that occurs in the pancreas.
Carcinoid tumors are a slow-growing cancer. They can occur in several places in the body, but most often are found in the digestive system.
CT Scan, CAT Scan (KAT–skan)
CT Scan or CAT Scan stands for “Computer Tomography” or “Computer Axial Tomography.” It is an imaging process that is used to detect illnesses such as cancer in the body.
A type of gland that releases chemical compounds (called hormones) into the blood. Hormones are the body’s chemical messengers.
Functional Pancreatic NET (FUNK–shuh–nal Pan–kree–AT–ik
A pancreatic NET is called “functional” because it may over-release certain hormones into the body. This can cause a wide range of symptoms.
A type of tumor that over-releases a hormone called gastrin. Early screening for gastrinoma can help to diagnose tumors when they are still benign.
Glucaganoma is a type of tumor in the pancreas that can cause the over-release of glucose in the body. It may lead to increased blood sugar levels.
Glucagon is a hormone that helps to increase levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood. Glucagonoma is a type of tumor that produces high amounts of glucagon in the body. This can cause rash-like symptoms.
Hormones are the body’s chemical messengers. They are made in certain glands. And they travel to other parts of the body through the blood. Hormones help to control many functions of living, such as digestion, growth, and blood sugar levels.
Insulin is a hormone that is released by the pancreas. Insulin helps to decrease the level of glucose (sugar) in the blood.
These tumors tend to produce too much or too little insulin. They can cause low blood sugar. They are small in size and are usually benign.
Islet Cell (EYE–litt SELL)
A kind of cell found in the pancreas. It releases hormones, such as insulin, into the bloodstream.
A word used to describe a tumor that is cancerous. A tumor that is malignant can invade other organs, destroy tissue, and spread to other parts of the body.
Metastasis is the spread of cancer from one part of the body to another.
MRI, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (Mag–NET–ik REZ–uh–nince
An MRI is a way to detect and diagnose diseases such as cancer. Using a magnetic field and radio waves, MRI can create very detailed images of tissue in the body.
Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Type-1
Some patients diagnosed with pancreatic NET may have a genetic syndrome known as multiple endocrine neoplasia (sometimes also referred to as MEN1 or Wermer's syndrome). This syndrome often involves endocrine tumors that may or may not be malignant.
Neuroendocrine Tumor (NOOH–row EN–duh–krin TOO–mer)
A neuroendocrine tumor forms from cells of the nervous and endocrine systems that produce hormones. There are many types of neuroendocrine tumors. They can grow in many parts of the body. When this type of tumor grows in the pancreas, it is called a pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor, or pancreatic NET.
Nonfunctional Pancreatic NET (NON–FUNK–shuh–nal
A non-functional pancreatic NET is one that does not overproduce hormones. This type of tumor generally does not cause many symptoms, although most are malignant.
A tool used by doctors to scan and locate small tumors in the pancreas through the use of a special camera. Also called somatostatin receptor scintigraphy.
The pancreas is a long, flat gland that lies behind the stomach. It gives off compounds that help break down foods that are eaten. The pancreas also contains a special kind of cell called an islet cell. Islet cells release hormones that, among other things, help control blood sugar levels.
Pancreatic NET (Pan–kree–AT–ik NET)
Pancreatic NET (pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor) is a cancer that affects the endocrine portion of the pancreas. These tumors arise from endocrine cells that control the release of hormones in the body. Pancreatic NETs are rare. They account for less than 5% of all tumors found in the pancreas. Pancreatic NETs tend to be slow-growing tumors, and can be either benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer). These tumors are also known for better patient outcomes compared to the more common cancer of the pancreas (known as pancreatic adenocarcinoma).
A type of tumor that can occur in the pancreas, and can spread to other parts of the body if it is not removed.
The “stage” of a tumor describes how advanced or severe it is. Most tumors are classed as stage 1 through stage 4. Early stage tumors are less advanced or severe.
Symptoms are warning signs in the body that indicate the presence of an illness, such as pancreatic NET.
A tumor is an abnormal growth of new tissues in the body. Tumors can be either cancerous (malignant) or non-cancerous (benign).
Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide-Releasing Tumor
These tumors, also known as VIPoma or Verner-Morrison syndrome, disrupt the release and absorption of water in the intestines.
An x-ray is a way to take pictures inside the body. A special type of radiation is used to pass through the bones and produce a picture on film. X-rays are used to detect problems with bones.