Appendiceal Tumors

Author: Li Liu, MD
Last Reviewed:

Question:

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?

Answer:

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
  • Paraganglioma

Treatment options include surgical removal of the tumor, chemotherapy and/or radiation, depending on the type and size of the tumor.

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