Understanding medical terms

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Term first coined in 1906 to describe a tumour that grew much more slowly than usual cancers.  “Carcinoid” was initially used to describe tumours that started in the tubular gut, but these are now more accurately described as a NET or gastroenteropancreatic (GEP) NET.

Carcinoid heart disease

If high levels of the hormone serotonin are produced over a long time, this can cause thickening of the heart valves and can lead to failure of the heart.

Carcinoid syndrome

A condition where some NETs produce increased levels of the hormone serotonin and cause a number of symptoms such as flushing (redness) of the face, diarrhoea (loose bowel motions), asthma or wheezing, heart failure, stomach cramps, swelling of the ankles, fast heart rate.

Chromogranin A (CgA)

CgA is a chemical/hormone found inside neuroendocrine cells.  The level of this hormone can be raised in patients with a diagnosis of NET, or in patients taking proton pump inhibitors (tablets to reduce acid production in the stomach) and can be measured in the blood.

Clinical trial

A study that explores whether a treatment or device is safe and effective in humans, or to compare the results of patients taking a new treatment with the results of patients taking the standard treatment to determine if one treatment is better than the other.