Small Intestine Cancer Treatment

Small Intestine Cancer Treatment

Small intestine cancer treatment options are important as approximately 6,900 new cases of small intestine cancer will be diagnosed this year, making it a relatively rare form of cancer1. The small intestine, located between the stomach and large intestine, is an integral part of the body’s digestive process responsible for breaking down food to absorb necessary nutrients. The name of the small intestine is a bit deceiving -- it actually is the largest part of the digestive system, reaching 15 to 20 feet in length.

The most common type of cancer of the small intestine is adenocarcinoma, which is a cancer that releases fluids such as mucus. Other types include sarcomas, carcinoid tumors, gastrointestinal stromal tumors and lymphomas.

Small Intestine Cancer Treatment Options

Small intestine cancer treatment options depend largely on the location, size and stage of the tumor and can include one or more of the following:

Surgery for Small Intestine Cancer Treatment
Small intestine cancer is most commonly treated with surgery, which can be performed one of two ways.
Resection Small Intestine Cancer Treatment
The first type of surgery, called a resection, is a procedure where all or part of the small intestine is removed. If only a section of the small intestine that contains the tumor is removed, the surgeon joins the ends back together. If the cancer has spread to other nearby organs, portions of these organs also may be removed.
Bypass Small Intestine Cancer Treatment
This form of surgery takes place when the tumor can not be removed, so a surgeon will perform surgery to allow food to go around, or bypass, the tumor that is blocking the food.
Radiation Therapy Small Intestine Cancer Treatment
Using high energy rays to destroy cancer cells, radiation therapy is usually given externally for small intestine cancer treatment. It can be given before surgery to shrink the tumor or after surgery to try to kill any remaining cancer cells.
Chemotherapy Small Intestine Cancer Treatment
For some reason, small intestine cancer does not respond well to the use of chemotherapy. Therefore, chemotherapy is typically only used if the cancer has spread to other organs.


  1. National Cancer Institute, Small Intestine Cancer Home Page, Accessed on July 19, 2010.

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