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Serotonin

Serotonin

A hormone made by certain types of cells in the body, mostly (but not limited to) in the gastrointestinal tract. Serotonin helps with various functions, including digestion. Symptoms of (but not limited to) gastrointestinal NETs (GI-NETs) may be caused by an excessive release of serotonin. Not to be confused with serotonin created in the brain.

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Small Bowel Capsule Endoscopy

A way to record images of the gastrointestinal (digestive) system. It involves swallowing a small capsule about the size and shape of a pill. The capsule contains a very small video camera that takes pictures of the inside of the gut.

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Somatostatin

A hormone that stops the release of other hormones, including gastrin, insulin, glucagon, and serotonin.

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Somatostatin Analogue

Medication that copies or mimics the action of the hormone somatostatin. Somatostatin analogues may reduce the symptoms of NETs by stopping the body from making too many hormones. They may lessen flushing of the skin and diarrhea, and help slow tumor growth. Given by injection.

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Somatostatin Receptor Scintigraphy

See also 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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Sonography

A procedure that uses high-energy sound waves (ultrasound) to look at tissues and organs inside the body. Ultrasound scans are one of the main imaging techniques used for diagnosing and monitoring NETs. Ultrasound is also known as sonography.

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Specialized Cells

Cells that have specific jobs in the body. They start as unspecialized cells, also known as stem cells, which are present in babies still in the womb. Unspecialized cells can turn into any kind of cell. The DNA in the cell determines the kind of cells they will become. The cells then grow and change shape, becoming Specialized cells.

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Stage

How far cancer in the body has progressed. Staging is usually based on the size of the tumor, whether lymph nodes in the body contain cancer, and whether the cancer has spread from the original site to other parts of the body.

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Sunitinib

An oral medication used to treat certain cancers that cannot be removed by surgery, have spread throughout the body (metastasized), or both. This includes pancreatic NETs as well as gastrointestinal stromal tumour (GIST), a type of cancer of the stomach and bowel, and kidney cancer.

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Surgeon

A highly skilled doctor who preforms operations, such as the removal of neuroendocrine tumors (NETs).

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Surgery

Surgery for NETs involves the physical removal of tumors.

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Syndrome

A set of symptoms that occur together. A syndrome may be a sign of a certain disease. Or it may mean there’s an increased chance of developing the disease. For example, hypoglycemia syndrome may be caused by a type of NET called an insulinoma, and Zollinger-Ellison syndrome may be caused by a type of NET called a gastrinoma.

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Targeted Cancer Therapies

Drugs or other substances that block the growth, development and spread of cancer cells. These treatments are also known as molecularly targeted therapies.

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Telangiectasia

Red spots on the skin, caused by abnormally dilated capillary vessels.

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Thymus

An organ near the base of the neck that produces infection-fighting cells.

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Thyroid

A small gland in the neck, just under the skin below the Adam’s apple. It produces thyroid hormones, which help control metabolism.

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Transarterial Chemoembolisation (TACE)

A procedure in which the blood supply to a tumor is blocked (embolised) and chemotherapy is administered directly into the tumor. TACE is used to treat liver cancer, and is also called chemoembolisation or hepatic artery embolisation (HAE).

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Tryptophan Hydroxylase Inhibitor Therapy

An oral therapy that works by limiting the production of serotonin and helps people with Carcinoid Syndrome experience fewer episodes of diarrhea each day.

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Tumor

An abnormal growth or mass in the body caused when cells grow out of control or don’t die when they are supposed to.

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Tumor Burden

The number of cancer cells, size of a tumor, or the amount of cancer in a person’s body.

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