Appendix cancer

What is it?

 

Appendix cancer is cancer of the appendix, a small pouch that is located where the small intestine meets the large intestine.

 

Appendix cancer is rare and is often found when people are having surgery for appendicitis (a condition of the appendix that requires surgery to remove the appendix).

 

What are the types?

 

The types of appendix cancer are the following:

 

  • carcinoid tumors
  • mucinous neoplasms
  • appendiceal adenocarcinomas
  • goblet call carcinomas (also called adenocarcinoids)

 

Carcinoid tumors, a type of neuroendocrine tumor (NET), are the most common type of appendix cancer. In most cases these are slow growing tumors and are very treatable.

 

Mucinous neoplasms are included in appendix cancers even though they are usually benign (non-cancerous) tumors. These tumors begin in the lining of the appendix and can have pre-cancerous lesions (cuts, or openings) called low-grade mucinous neoplasms, or LAMN. If the LAMN lesions rupture, they can cause a disease called pseudomyxoma peitonei (PMP).

 

Appendix adenocarcinomas are tumors that line the appendix and are broken down into three separate types called

 

  • mucinous
  • colonic-type
  • signet ring cell

 

Mucinous adenocarcinomas are the second most common type of appendix cancers.

 

Who's most at risk?

 

  • smokers
  • adults 50+ years of age
  • females - specifically to carcinoid tumors
  • family history of cancer
  • genetic mutations - multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1) or Wermer syndrome
  • people with stomach conditions that affect the stomach's ability to produce acid

 

Diagnosis & Treatment

 

If your doctor suspects appendix cancer they may run some blood and pee (urine) tests. This is both to rule out other diseases and to check for specific cancer markers in the blood.

 

A biopsy (tissue sample) is another common way to look for appendix cancer. This is usually done if you are already having surgery, such as surgery to remove the appendix for appendicitis.

 

Also to confirm an appendix cancer diagnosis, your doctor may request an imaging scan, such as a CT, MRI or PET scan.

 

Once appendix cancer is confirmed, your medical team will put together a treatment plan based on the type of appendix cancer and if it has spread.

 

Surgery is a primary treatment for appendix cancer which might include

 

  • the removal of the appendix
  • removal of a portion of the colon
  • cytoreductive surgery

 

Cytocreductive surgery

 

A cytoreductive surgery, also called a debulking surgery, will try to remove areas in the abdomen where the cancer has spread, such as

  • parts of the small and large intestine
  • gallbladder
  • ovaries
  • uterus
  • peritoneum (lining of the abdomen)

 

With a cytoreductive surgery a type of chemotherapy called hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) may be used as the same time. The chemotherapy drug is heated up, and they let the drugs go through all areas of your abdomen for an hour and a half to reach tumors that the surgeon may not be able to see.

 

Chemotherapy administered through a vein (intravenous) to go throughout the entire body may also be used for appendix cancer treatment, so talk to your doctor about what treatment options are right for you.

 

What is it?

 

Appendix cancer is cancer of the appendix, a small pouch that is located where the small intestine meets the large intestine.

 

Appendix cancer is rare and is often found when people are having surgery for appendicitis (a condition of the appendix that requires surgery to remove the appendix).

 

What are the types?

 

The types of appendix cancer are the following:

 

  • carcinoid tumors
  • mucinous neoplasms
  • appendiceal adenocarcinomas
  • goblet call carcinomas (also called adenocarcinoids)
Appendix cancer

 

Carcinoid tumors, a type of neuroendocrine tumor (NET), are the most common type of appendix cancer. In most cases these are slow growing tumors and are very treatable.

 

Mucinous neoplasms are included in appendix cancers even though they are usually benign (non-cancerous) tumors. These tumors begin in the lining of the appendix and can have pre-cancerous lesions (cuts, or openings) called low-grade mucinous neoplasms, or LAMN. If the LAMN lesions rupture, they can cause a disease called pseudomyxoma peitonei (PMP).

 

Appendix adenocarcinomas are tumors that line the appendix and are broken down into three separate types called

 

  • mucinous
  • colonic-type
  • signet ring cell

 

Mucinous adenocarcinomas are the second most common type of appendix cancers.

 

Who's most at risk?

 

  • smokers
  • adults 50+ years of age
  • females - specifically to carcinoid tumors
  • family history of cancer
  • genetic mutations - multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1) or Wermer syndrome
  • people with stomach conditions that affect the stomach's ability to produce acid

 

Diagnosis & Treatment

 

If your doctor suspects appendix cancer they may run some blood and pee (urine) tests. This is both to rule out other diseases and to check for specific cancer markers in the blood.

 

A biopsy (tissue sample) is another common way to look for appendix cancer. This is usually done if you are already having surgery, such as surgery to remove the appendix for appendicitis.

 

Also to confirm an appendix cancer diagnosis, your doctor may request an imaging scan, such as a CT, MRI or PET scan.

 

Once appendix cancer is confirmed, your medical team will put together a treatment plan based on the type of appendix cancer and if it has spread.

 

Surgery is a primary treatment for appendix cancer which might include

 

  • the removal of the appendix
  • removal of a portion of the colon
  • cytoreductive surgery

 

Cytocreductive surgery

 

A cytoreductive surgery, also called a debulking surgery, will try to remove areas in the abdomen where the cancer has spread, such as

  • parts of the small and large intestine
  • gallbladder
  • ovaries
  • uterus
  • peritoneum (lining of the abdomen)

 

With a cytoreductive surgery a type of chemotherapy called hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) may be used as the same time. The chemotherapy drug is heated up, and they let the drugs go through all areas of your abdomen for an hour and a half to reach tumors that the surgeon may not be able to see.

 

Chemotherapy administered through a vein (intravenous) to go throughout the entire body may also be used for appendix cancer treatment, so talk to your doctor about what treatment options are right for you.

 

Symptom list:

Appendix cancer