Gastrointestinal Carcinoid Tumor and Receiving Social Security DisabilityThe building blocks of your body are cells. This is where cancer originates. When your body is functioning correctly, old cells die at the proper time and are replaced by new cells as you need them. Sometimes, this process does not work right. Old cells do not die like they ought to, and new cells are produced even when they are not needed. A tumor (mass) can be made by these excess cells. They can be either benign or malignant. Benign tumors are not cancer. Malignant tumors are cancer. A carcinoid tumor is classified as a neuroendocrine tumor. This means that these tumors begin in cells of your neuroendocrine system that make hormones. Because of this, a carcinoid tumor can also produce hormones and cause serious illness. A gastrointestinal carcinoid tumor is a cancer that begins in your gastrointestinal tract. It starts in the lining of your gastrointestinal tract. Your gastrointestinal tract is made up of your small intestine, large intestine and stomach. These organs are a part of your digestive system. It is estimated that between 11,000 and 12,000 people are diagnosed with a carcinoid tumor each year in the United States. Of this number, about two-thirds of these begin in the gastrointestinal tract. A gastrointestinal carcinoid tumor results from errors or mutations in a particular kind of cell in the lining of your gastrointestinal tract that produces hormones. These are the hormones that help regulate your digestive juices and the muscles that send food through your stomach and intestines. However, no one knows for sure what causes these errors or mutations to occur in these cells. Often, a gastrointestinal carcinoid tumor causes no signs or symptoms in the early stages of its development. These tumors usually grow slowly. If the cancer spreads (metastasizes) to other parts of your body, something known as carcinoid syndrome can happen. Signs and symptoms caused by carcinoid syndrome that you may experience include:
- A feeling of fullness or pain in your abdomen
- A feeling of warmth or redness in your neck and face
- Shortness of breath
- A fast heart rate
- Swelling of your ankles and feet.