Small Intestine Cancer - Types and Stages of Small Intestine Cancer

Small intestine cancer is a rare type of cancer that arises from the cells lining the small intestine. Small intestine cancer is classified into multiple types, depending on the type of cell that it arises from. Some types of small intestine carcinoma are more common than others. Also, a few small intestine cancer types are aggressive as compared to others and demand a more comprehensive treatment regimen.

How Common is Small Intestinal Cancer?

Small intestine cancer is rare in India compared to other gastrointestinal cancers like colorectal cancer. It is also found to account for only a small percentage of GI cancers.

The reason for the low incidence of small intestine cancer could be its fast-moving, "clean" environment. Prolonged exposure to carcinogens is also limited as the food rushes through quickly. Lastly, the small intestine’s in-built defense against bacterial overgrowth further contributes to the reduced cancer risk compared to other sites of the gastrointestinal tract.

What is Small Intestine Cancer?

Small intestine cancer, or small bowel carcinoma, originates in the tissues of the small intestine, a vital part of the digestive system. Certain mutations in the cells lining the small intestine can cause them to undergo uncontrolled division, which will eventually lead to tumor formation. This type of cancer includes various subtypes, each with distinct characteristics and treatment approaches.

What are Small Intestine Cancer Types?

There are different small intestine cancer types, and they are categorized based on the cell type that they originate from. Some of these types are slow-growing and have a better prognosis as compared to others. The following are the different small intestine cancer types:

What are the Different Small Intestine Cancer Stages?


Small intestine carcinoma, though relatively rare, demands attention due to its potential complexity and varying stages. Early detection is paramount for effective intervention, and a comprehensive understanding of the disease’s crucial aspects empowers individuals and specialists to navigate the diagnosis, treatment, and overall management of small bowel cancer.

Frequently Asked Questions

No, patients with this cancer may not always experience pain in its early stages. However, as the cancer progresses or if it obstructs the intestine, patients may experience abdominal pain, discomfort, or changes in bowel habits. Consultation with healthcare professionals can address and manage associated symptoms.

The seriousness of small intestine cancer varies based on the stage of diagnosis and individual factors. Early-stage cancers have a more favorable prognosis as compared to advanced-stage cancers. Timely diagnosis and a personalized care approach contribute to a better clinical outcome.

Adenocarcinomas are the most common type of small intestine cancer. Arising from the glandular cells lining the small intestine, these cancers can be aggressive. However, small bowel cancer encompasses various subtypes, including carcinoid tumors, sarcomas, and lymphomas, each with its unique characteristics.

There are multiple reasons for the rare occurrence of small bowel carcinoma:

Swift Passage: In the small intestine, food passes rapidly, and therefore, the dwell time for potential carcinogens is low. This leads to a reduced risk of tumor formation in this region.

Sterile Surroundings: The small intestine harbors a relatively sterile environment when compared to other organs of the GI tract. This results in reduced bacterial growth, which translates to fewer inflammatory reactions and less DNA damage. Hence, the possibility of tumor growth in the small intestine is low.

Internal Defenses: The small intestine uses certain in-built mechanisms to resist the overgrowth of bacteria, and this also amplifies the organ’s defense against cancer growth.

It typically arises from the cells that line the small intestine. The specific location can vary. Small intestine cancer is classified into various subtypes, depending on the cell type from which it originates, such as neuroendocrine cells (carcinoid tumors), glandular cells (adenocarcinomas), connective tissues (sarcomas), or lymphatic tissues (lymphomas).

No, small intestine cancer is not a common cancer type, and it accounts for a very small percentage of gastrointestinal cancers.

Generally, the survival rates for stage 4 small intestine carcinoma are low. However, it may vary depending on individual patient parameters, such as the type of small intestine carcinoma, the patient’s overall health condition, and the treatment response. With advanced treatment approaches available today, we have been able to prolong survival in patients dealing with small intestine carcinoma.

The survival rates for stage 3 small bowel carcinoma cases are promising. However, it depends on a few crucial parameters, like the type of small bowel cancer, the patient’s age and health, and the treatment response shown by the patient.