Our bodies are made up of billions of cells including neuroendocrine cells. In health, neuroendocrine cells, help regulate our bodily functions by releasing small molecules that circulate throughout the body and work as hormones or substances that have a similar effect. They are present in endocrine glands but can also be found, more diffusely, throughout the body, including just below the surface layer of the skin.
Neuroendocrine cancers occur when neuroendocrine cells stop working normally and start to grow uncontrollably and / or function abnormally. The type of hormone (or similar substance) neuroendocrine cells release depends on what part of the body they are in, for example: In the digestive system the substances released help to break down food in our gut and move food through the small and large bowel – helping both nutritional uptake and eliminating waste.
But even if the digestive system is not directly affected by Neuroendocrine Cancer, some of the treatments, such as Somatostatin Analogues (Lanreotide and Octreotide) can have an impact on how this system works.
Here, specialist dietitian Elizabeth Bradley, talks about some of the direct and indirect ways Neuroendocrine Cancer and/or it’s treatment can affect normal function:
Our Diet & Nutrition booklet is being updated, in the meantime, our colleagues at MENETs, have produced this helpful guide
Further information about Neuroendocrine Cancer can be found here.