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Neuroendocrine system

Neuroendocrine system

A network of neuroendocrine cells that are distributed throughout the body.

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Neuroendocrine tumors (NETs)

Tumors that arise from cells of the endocrine (hormonal) and nervous systems. They most commonly occur in the gastrointestinal (digestive) system but they are also found in the pancreas, lung and the rest of the body.

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Nonfunctional NET

A NET that doesn’t release hormones. This type of NET may only cause symptoms when it grows. Most nonfunctional tumors are malignant (cancerous). Also called a nonsecretory NET.

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Nueropeptide

A peptide neurotransmitter found in various parts of the brain. It is involved in vasodilation, hypotension, and pain perception. Levels of neurotensin in the blood can be used to detect and monitor NETs.

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Octreotide

A medicine used to treat NETs. Octreotide belongs to a group of drugs called somatostatin analogues. These are man-made proteins that are similar to a hormone in the body called somatostatin.

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Octreotide Scan

An imaging test used to find certain tumors, including NETs. Radioactive octreotide is injected into a vein and travels through the blood. A radiation-measuring device (gamma camera) detects the radioactive octreotide, and makes pictures showing where the tumor cells are in the body. Also called somatostatin receptor scintigraphy or SRS.

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Oncologist

A doctor that specialises in treating people with cancer.

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Pancreas

An organ that produces hormones and enzymes that help your body digest food. The pancreas also produces the hormone insulin, which helps control the amount of sugar (glucose) in the blood.

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Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors (pNETs)

Tumors that form in hormone-making cells (islet cells) of the pancreas. These include functioning and non-functioning tumors.

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Pancreatic Polypeptide

A hormone produced by the pancreas. Levels of pancreatic polypeptides are high in the blood of people with pancreatic NETs (pNETS). Blood levels can therefore be used to diagnose and monitor pNETs.

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Pellagra

A condition caused by low levels of niacin (a B vitamin) in your blood. Symptoms include diarrhea, scaly skin rash, mental confusion, and inflamed mucus membranes.

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Peptide Receptor Radionuclide Therapy (PRRT)

A therapy that delivers a small protein joined to a radioactive substance (radionuclide) to the surface of cancer cells. Also called hormone-delivered radiotherapy.

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Positron Emission Tomography (PET)

An imaging technique that can show how body tissues are working, as well as what they look like. It can help to diagnose and assess the severity of a cancer. In this scan, a radioactive tracer may be injected, swallowed or inhaled, depending on which organ or tissue is being studied by the PET scan.

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Primary Site

The place in the body where a tumor starts.

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Primary Tumor

The original, or first, tumor in the body. Cancer cells can spread from a primary tumor to other parts of the body and form secondary tumors.

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Prognosis

A medical prediction about the probable cause and outcome of a disease.

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Prophylaxis

Preventative treatment or action.

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Proteins

The basic building blocks of tissue and other structures in the body. An enzyme is a kind of protein that causes chemical changes in your body.

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Radiation Therapy

A form of therapy used to kill cancer cells by damaging their DNA. Radiation can damage normal cells too, so treatment should be carefully planned to decrease side effects.

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Radio Embolization

Uses radiation to treat NETs that have developed in the liver. It is similar to hepatic chemoembolization but instead of chemotherapy it uses radiation to block the blood supply to NET cells in the liver. This process stops the tumor from releasing its hormones into the blood system. Also known as hepatic artery embolization (HAE).

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