How is small intestine cancer treated?
Treatment of small intestine cancer depends on its location and how far it has spread. Surgery may be able to cure the disease if it is in a location where it can be removed and it has not spread. Other treatments may be necessary if the cancer cannot be surgically removed or if it has spread.
Goal of cancer treatment
The goal of small intestine cancer treatment is to permanently cure the cancer or to bring about a complete remission of the disease. Remission means that there is no longer any sign of the disease in the body, although it may recur or relapse later.
Common treatments for small intestine cancer
Common treatments for small intestine cancer include:
- Chemotherapy to attack cancer cells
- Immunotherapy to enhance the immune system’s ability to fight cancer
- Participation in a clinical trial testing promising new treatments for small intestine cancer
- Radiation therapy to attack cancer cells
- Surgery to remove cancer
- Surgery to reroute healthy small intestine around the cancer
Other treatments for small intestine cancer
Other therapies may be added to help with your general state of health and any complications of the cancer or its treatment. Such therapies include:
- Antinausea medications if nausea occurs
- Bisphosphonates to help strengthen bones
- Blood transfusions to temporarily replace blood components (such as red blood cells or platelets) that have been reduced or lost
- Dietary counseling to help maintain strength and nutritional status
- Pain medications if needed to increase comfort
- Physical therapy to help strengthen the body, increase alertness, reduce fatigue, and improve functional ability during and after cancer treatment
Some complementary treatments may help some people to better deal with small intestine cancer and its treatments. These treatments, sometimes referred to as alternative therapies, are used in conjunction with traditional medical treatments. Complementary treatments are not meant to substitute for full medical care.
Complementary treatments may include:
- Massage therapy
In cases in which small intestine cancer has progressed to an advanced stage and has become unresponsive to treatment, the goal of treatment may shift away from curing the disease and focus on measures to keep a person comfortable and maximize the quality of life. Hospice care involves medically controlling pain and other symptoms while providing psychological and spiritual support as well as services to support the patient’s family.
What are the potential complications of small intestine cancer?
Complications of untreated small intestine cancer can be serious, even life threatening in some cases. You can help minimize your risk of serious complications by following the treatment plan you and your health care professional design specifically for you. Complications of small intestine cancer include:
- Anemia (low red blood cell count)
- Bowel obstruction
- Bowel perforation
- Spread of cancer
What is small intestine cancer?
The small intestine is the long, thin segment of the intestine that connects the stomach to the colon. Also called the small bowel, the small intestine is responsible for digesting carbohydrates, proteins and fats and delivering the resulting nutrients to the bloodstream. Different kinds of cancers can involve the small intestine. The most common type of cancer of the small bowel is adenoc... Read more about small intestine cancer introduction
What are the symptoms of small intestine cancer?
Symptoms of small intestine cancer tend to be nonspecific and could be associated with a variety of issues.... Read more about small intestine cancer symptoms
What causes small intestine cancer?
Cancer occurs when a cell becomes abnormal and starts to divide and grow uncontrollably. What causes this to occur is not known. Factors that seem to increase an individual’s risk for disease have been identified for a number of cancers including small intestine cancer.... Read more about small intestine cancer causes