About types of small bowel cancer

There are four main types of small bowel cancer (small intestine cancer). Doctors find out what type you have by looking at samples of tissue under a microscope. The different types are named after the cells where they develop. The doctor will diagnose what type of small bowel cancer you have. Then they can tell you about your treatment options.

For more information on other types of small bowel cancer, contact our cancer information nurses on the Macmillan Support Line on 0800 808 00 00, 7 days a week, 8am to 8pm.

Adenocarcinoma

These are the most common type of small bowel cancer. They start in the lining of the small bowel. They are usually in the duodenum.

Sarcoma

Sarcomas develop in the supportive tissues of the body. There are different types of sarcoma. The most common is a gastrointestinal stromal tumour (GIST). A GIST can develop in any part of the small bowel.

Other types include leiomyosarcomas. These are usually in the muscle wall of the small bowel, usually in the ileum.

Neuroendocrine (carcinoid) tumours

Neuroendocrine tumours start from cells that make hormones inside the small bowel. They usually start in the ileum.

Lymphomas

Lymphomas start in the lymph tissue  of the small bowel. The lymph tissue is part of the body’s immune system. Small bowel lymphomas are usually non-Hodgkin lymphomas (NHLs).

Small bowel lymphomas are most common in the ileum.

Secondary cancer in the small bowel

Occasionally, a small bowel cancer may be a secondary cancer. This means it has spread to the small bowel from a cancer that started somewhere else in the body (primary cancer). The most common cancers that might spread to the small bowel are:

About our information


How we can help

Macmillan Grants

If you have cancer, you may be able to get a Macmillan Grant to help with the extra costs of cancer. Find out who can apply and how to access our grants.

0808 808 00 00
7 days a week, 8am - 8pm
Email us
Get in touch via this form
Chat online
7 days a week, 8am - 8pm
Online Community
An anonymous network of people affected by cancer which is free to join. Share experiences, ask questions and talk to people who understand.
Help in your area
What's going on near you? Find out about support groups, where to get information and how to get involved with Macmillan where you live.