Small Intestinal Cancer

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Small Intestinal Cancer

The symptoms of small intestine cancers are often vague and can have other, more common causes. Unfortunately, this means that it’s often at least several months from the time symptoms start until the cancer is diagnosed.

What Are the Symptoms of Small Intestinal Cancer?

  • Pain in the belly (abdomen)
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Weight loss (without trying)
  • Weakness and feeling tired (fatigue)
  • Dark-colored stools (from bleeding into the intestine)
  • Low red blood cell counts (anemia)
  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)


  • Small intestine cancer occurs slightly more often in men than in women.
  • Cancers of the small intestine tend to occur more often in older people.
  • Race/ethnicity
  • Smoking and alcohol use.
  • Celiac disease.
  • Colon cancer.
  • Crohn’s disease


  • A surgical oncologist: a doctor who treats cancer with surgery
  • A radiation oncologist: a doctor who uses radiation to treat cancer
  • A medical oncologist: a doctor who uses chemotherapy and other medicines to treat cancer
  • A gastroenterologist: a doctor that specializes in diseases and problems of the digestive system


  • In almost all cases, doctors first choose to perform a barium contrast study of the small intestine.
  • Upper GI tract endoscopy may be useful in detecting areas of concern in the immediate upper GI tract.
  • A CT scan of the abdomen or an abdominal ultrasound may help to visualize bulky tumors and to rule out any spread of the cancer to adjacent lymph nodes and distant organs such as the liver.
  • Colonoscopy may help diagnose tumors involving the lower areas of the small bowel.

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