1. Should I have both the serotonin and 5-HIAA tests performed?
Serotonin and 5-HIAA offer complementary information. In some cases, 5-HIAA is preferred because it is more stable and, since it is collected for 24 hours, there is more chance of detecting increased 5-HIAA than in identifying excess serotonin that is only released intermittently. Talk to your healthcare practitioner about which tests are appropriate for your condition.
2. Are some people at a higher risk for developing a carcinoid tumor?
Anyone at any age can develop a carcinoid tumor but, according to the American Cancer Society, the average age at diagnosis is usually about 55 to 65. People with a family history of multiple endocrine neoplasia (MEN1), a genetic condition that increases a person's risk of developing tumors in the endocrine system glands, may be at higher risk for developing a carcinoid tumor.
3. How does a healthcare practitioner locate the carcinoid tumor?
This is usually accomplished through the use of imaging scans such as x-rays, computed tomography (CT), or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In some cases, surgery is required to find the tumor. For more on these imaging tests, visit RadiologyInfo.org.
4. How does the healthcare practitioner tell whether a tumor is benign or cancerous?
In order to determine whether the tumor is benign or cancerous, the healthcare practitioner will need to perform a biopsy or remove the tumor surgically. The tumor is sent to the laboratory and a pathologist will examine the tumor cells under the microscope. (For more, see the article on Anatomic Pathology.)
This article was last reviewed on December 17, 2015. | This article was last modified on December 17, 2015.
The review date indicates when the article was last reviewed from beginning to end to ensure that it reflects the most current science. A review may not require any modifications to the article, so the two dates may not always agree.
The modified date indicates that one or more changes were made to the article. Such changes may or may not result from a full review of the article, so the two dates may not always agree.