Small bowel cancer is a rare type of cancer that occurs in the small intestine. The small intestine is a long tube-shaped organ that carries digested food between the stomach and the large intestine (colon). The small intestine is responsible for digesting and absorbing nutrients from food. It produces hormones that aid digestion. Since the small intestine contains cells that fight bacteria and viruses that enter the body through your mouth, it also plays a role in the body's germ-fighting immune system.
Types of small bowel cancer include adenocarcinomas, carcinoid tumors, and neuroendocrine tumors, including paraganglioma, sarcomas, including lymphoma and gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST).
Signs and symptoms of small bowel cancer are abdominal pain, yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice), feeling unusually weak or tired, nausea, vomiting, weight loss, blood that may appear red or black in the stool, watery diarrhea, skin flushing.
Generally, small bowel cancer begins when healthy cells develop changes (mutations) in their DNA in the small intestine. Over time, cancer cells can grow and invade and destroy nearby normal tissue. And cancerous cells can spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body.
Factors that can increase the risk of small bowel cancer include: Gene mutations; If a cancer has one close first-degree or several second-third degree relatives in the family, it may be carrying a genetic mutation. Examples include Lynch syndrome, familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), and Peutz-Jeghers syndrome. Other intestinal diseases; Other diseases and conditions that affect the gut can increase the risk of small bowel cancer, including Crohn's disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and celiac disease. Weakened immune system; If the body's germ-fighting immune system is weakened, the risk of small bowel cancer may increase. Examples include people with HIV infection and those taking immunosuppressive medications after organ transplantation.
Small bowel cancers are difficult to diagnose. For this reason, people suspected of having small bowel cancer often undergo multiple tests and procedures to find or rule out cancer. Imaging tests used to diagnose small bowel cancer include: Computed Tomography (CT), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MR), Positron emission tomography (PET). Apart from these methods, there may be some tests such as endoscopy that should be applied to see the inside of your small intestine and to take tissue sampling (pathology). Sometimes small bowel cancers settle in places that make it very difficult to see with other tests. In these cases, surgery may be recommended to examine the small intestine and surrounding area for signs of cancer.
The operation can be either open (laparotomy) or closed (laparoscopy) technique. Laparoscopic procedure (closed surgery) is the operation of small incisions with the help of special surgical instruments and a video camera. If the cancer affects a small part of the small intestine, only that part is removed and reattached to the cut ends of the intestine.
If small bowel cancer cannot be removed, a bypass can be performed to remove an obstruction in the small intestine. In this way, it is ensured that the defecation problem of the patient is eliminated, and by applying some interventions in terms of nutrition, the conditions that may cause the general condition of the patient to become depressed and the comfort of the patient during the illness are tried to be eliminated with non-oral feeding methods.