Surgery for neuroendocrine tumours (NETs)
Localised NETs can often be completely removed with surgery. The aim of the operation is to cure the cancer. Sometimes, this type of operation is possible if there has been only limited spread (regional spread).
If it is not possible to completely remove the tumour, doctors can try to remove as much as possible. This is called debulking. It can improve your symptoms by relieving pressure on other parts of the body. It can also help to reduce symptoms caused by the over-production of a hormone.
An operation to remove all of the cancer may sometimes be possible for NETs that have spread to the liver. This will depend on how it is affecting your liver. Your doctors will discuss this with you.
Surgery can also help relieve symptoms of a NET that has spread to more distant sites in the body (metastatic). For example, if a tumour is blocking the small bowel, surgery can remove it or bypass the blockage.
If you have a functioning NET, there is a risk that an operation can cause carcinoid crisis. Your doctors will take precautions to help prevent this and they will monitor you during treatment.