Small intestine cancer

What is small intestine cancer?
Small intestine cancer, also called small bowel cancer, is a rare type of cancer that forms in the small intestine, the digestive tract between the stomach and the large intestine. This is not the same as colon cancer, which is cancer that develops in the large intestine.

What causes small intestine cancer?
No exact cause of small intestine cancer is known, but there are several risk factors that may increase the chances of developing it:
• Eating a diet high in fat, especially saturated or animal fat
• Celiac disease (inability to digest gluten)
• Crohn disease (a type of disease that causes inflammation in the small and large intestine)

Having one or more of these risk factors does not mean that a person will definitely get small intestine cancer.

What are the symptoms of small intestine cancer?
• A lump in the abdomen
• Blood in the stool
• Losing weight for no reason
• Feeling pain or cramps in the abdomen

How is small intestine cancer diagnosed?
A variety of diagnostic techniques are used to accurately detect and stage small intestine cancer including:
• Barium enema (a special x-ray of the intestine)
• Fecal occult blood tests to detect any blood in the stool
• CEA (Carcino-embryonic antigen) is an important blood test that helps as a marker of the disease. Elevated levels should drop with effective treatment.
• Liver function tests
• MRI or CT scans of the chest, abdomen and pelvis to detect any spread of the cancer

How is small intestine cancer treated at KHCC?
The treating physician will present the case to the MDC panel who will determine the right treatment for the patient depending on how much the cancer has spread throughout the body.
Treatments for small intestine cancer include: surgical procedures, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Surgery is usually the first line of treatment to try to remove the tumor and limit its possibility to spread.

At KHCC, small intestine cancer patients receive top quality care through a multidisciplinary team of specialists highly experienced in treating cancer of the small intestine and other gastrointestinal tumors.

Supportive Care
The gastrointestinal multidisciplinary clinic works in close cooperation with other departments at KHCC so that small intestine cancer patients receive the most comprehensive care possible. Supportive care services at KHCC include:
• For patients who have to have temporary or permanent colostomies, a stoma team is on hand to counsel them and show them how to use colostomy pouches.