Signs and Symptoms of carcinoid tumors

Some carcinoid tumors don’t cause any signs or symptoms. When they do occur, signs and symptoms are usually vague and depend on:

  • Location of the tumor.
  • Severity of disease (how advanced it is).
  • What kinds of hormones the tumor releases.

But signs may appear when excess chemicals cause symptoms or when a tumor spreads (metastasizes). One of the most common symptoms is flushing on your face and neck. Your skin may suddenly become red and hot. Flushing may be triggered by stress, alcohol and certain foods.

Carcinoid tumors in the lungs

Signs and symptoms of carcinoid lung tumors include:

  • Chest pain
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath (dyspnea)
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight gain, particularly around the midsection and upper back
  • Pink or purple marks on the skin that look like stretch marks

Carcinoid tumors in the digestive tract

Signs and symptoms of carcinoid tumors in the digestive tract include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea, vomiting and inability to pass stool due to intestinal blockage (bowel obstruction)
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Rectal pain
  • Redness or a feeling of warmth in your face and neck (skin flushing)
  • Skin lesions or rashes

Other symptoms may include the following:

  • Anemia (low red blood cells)
  • Fatigue or weakness.
  • Heart murmur due to heart muscle damage.
  • Jaundice (yellowing of your skin)
  • Low blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Wheezing

If you experience any signs and symptoms that bother you and are persistent, make an appointment with your doctor.

It’s important to note that these symptoms can also be caused by other conditions, so it’s important to see a doctor for a proper diagnosis. Carcinoid tumors are often found incidentally during the evaluation of other symptoms or conditions, and are not typically present with symptoms.

In advanced stages, metastasis to the liver can occur, leading to abdominal distention and pain, jaundice and other symptoms. A combination of physical examination, blood test and imaging studies like CT/MRI are used to confirm the diagnosis.