Small Bowel Tumors

After the appendix, the small intestine is the second most common site of tumors in the lining of the intestinal tract. In approximately half the cases, more than one tumor is found. Tumors in the small intestine account for one to five percent of all tumors of the stomach and intestinal tract.

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Symptoms

Benign, small bowel tumors most often include:

  • Leiomyomas
  • Lipomas
  • Neurofibromas
  • Fibromas

Malignant tumors may include:

  • Adenocarcinoma, which is rare but may appear with Crohn's disease in the small intestine
  • Lymphoma

All of these types of tumors may cause symptoms that need surgery. They sometimes block the bowel or cause pain or bleeding. Malignant lymphoma that starts in the small intestine may cause a long segment of the small intestine to feel rigid. Kaposi's sarcoma, which occurs in an aggressive form in transplant recipients and AIDS patients, involves the stomach or intestines in 40 to 60% of cases. Lesions in the digestive tract usually do not cause symptoms but may cause other conditions, including bleeding diarrhea.

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Diagnosis

Tumors in the small intestines are usually found by using:

  • Endoscopy to visualize tumors
  • Biopsies of the tissue of the small intestine
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Treatments

Some types of treatment may be done at the time of diagnostic procedures. Others may be performed separately. Techniques used to treat tumors of the small intestines include:

  • Surgery
  • Minimally invasive surgery
  • Electrocautery, to stop bleeding
  • Laser phototherapy
  • Thermal obliteration