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Neuroendocrine tumors (NETs)

The information on this page was reviewed and approved by
Maurie Markman, MD, President, Medicine & Science at CTCA.

This page was updated on July 14, 2021.

No diagnosis for neuroendocrine tumors is the same. Get personalized treatment.

Neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) form in cells that interact with the nervous system or in glands that produce hormones. These cells, called neuroendocrine cells, can be found throughout the body, but NETs are most often found in the abdomen, especially in the gastrointestinal tract. These tumors may also be found in the lungs, pancreas and adrenal glands. Merkel cell cancer, a type of skin cancer, also is considered a neuroendocrine cancer.

More than 12,000 NETs are diagnosed each year in the United States, accounting for a small fraction of the number of new cancer cases. But more and more Americans are being diagnosed with this disease, with incidence rates rising markedly over the past 15 years.

In addition to being rare, NETs are complex and may be difficult to diagnose. That’s why it’s important to get expert care from a dedicated team with experience and training in treating cancer. Your individualized plan will include evidence-based treatments and technologies to fight neuroendocrine cancer, combined with supportive care services to help reduce side effects and keep you strong in body, mind and spirit.

What you should know after a neuroendocrine tumor diagnosis

Treatment options

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Treatment for NETs varies, depending largely on the type and stage of the disease. Common treatment options for neuroendocrine tumors include:

Surgery to remove the primary tumor is often the first-line treatment for patients with localized NETs.

Medical oncology
Depending on the type of NET and treatment goals, chemotherapy, hormone therapy and/or targeted therapy may be an option.

Radiation therapy
Radiation therapy is generally used when a neuroendocrine tumor has spread or is in a location that makes surgery difficult.

A gastroenterologist may need to remove obstructions in the GI tract and relieve pain or breathing problems.

Learn more about treatments for NETs

Supportive care

The symptoms of neuroendocrine tumors are wide-ranging, depending on where in the body the disease is found. These symptoms may include pain, gastrointestinal issues, high blood pressure and fatigue. Supportive care therapies may help you manage the side effects of the disease and its treatment and help maintain your strength and quality of life. At Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA), a multidisciplinary team of cancer experts will offer a variety of therapies, to help keep you strong during and after treatment. These therapies may include:


​Nutritional support

Every patient has the option of meeting with a registered dietitian.


​Pain management

Pain management is a branch of medicine focused on reducing pain and improving quality of life through an integrative approach to care.


Behavioral health

​Our behavioral health support program is designed to support you and your caregivers before, during and after cancer treatment.

Kimberly Jensen

Kimberly J.

Stomach Cancer

"I have good days and bad, but I always have a positive attitude knowing that I survived. I often sit outside looking at the stars and enjoying the back porch, not taking my time for granted. I also enjoy spending time with my son and two grandsons, who are the center of my universe. Also, I am expecting a granddaughter in July. I am grateful for every moment."



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