Dear OncoLink "Ask the Experts,"
Both my father and paternal grandmother have had "malignant neoplasm in the appendix." I have been told that "neoplasm" rarely starts at the appendix. Is this truly a rare cancer?
Liz Prechtel-Dunphy, CRNP, OncoLink editorial assistant, responds:
Tumors of the appendix are very rare, representing less than 0.5% of all gastrointestinal cancers. They usually are diagnosed as an unexpected finding following an incidental appendectomy. Symptoms can include appendicitis, ascites (build-up of fluid in the abdomen), bloating, abdominal pain, pelvic pain, changes in bowel function and infertility.
There are several types of appendiceal tumors:
- Carcinoid tumor
- Appendiceal mucoceles
- Colonic-type adenocarcinoma.
- Signet-ring cell adenocarcinoma
- Goblet cell carcinomas/adenocarcinoids
Treatment options include surgical removal of the tumor, chemotherapy and/or radiation, depending on the type and size of the tumor.