Small bowel tumours

What are small bowel tumours?

Small bowel tumours occur when abnormal cells grow uncontrollably in the small bowel, forming a malignant or non-malignant tumour.1

Types of small bowel tumours include:1

  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Lymphoma
  • Neuroendocrine tumour, including carcinoid tumours
  • Sarcoma, including gastrointestinal stromal tumour (GIST)

Signs and symptoms of small bowel tumours

Not everyone experiences symptoms from small bowel tumours, however some common signs include:1

Bright red or dark blood in your stool

Sudden changes in bowel motions

such as diarrhoea or constipation

Unexplained weightloss

Abdominal pain, discomfort or bloating


Diagnosis of small bowel tumours involves a number of tests. You may undergo a special x-ray known as a small bowel contrast study or CT enterography (CT imagery with contrast material to view the small intestine), which are used to identify the small bowel mass; or a capsule endoscopy, a procedure involving swallowing a camera-on-capsule which transmits images to an external recorder to examine the small intestine.

Further tests may also be required, often to see if the cancer has spread beyond the bowel or rectum. These include a CT scan, MRI scan or PET scan.2


Treatment for small bowel tumours depends on the type that you have, and your age, medical history and treatment preferences. Options include:2


For a full list of references, click here.
  1. Mayo Clinic (2019). Small bowel cancer – symptoms & causes. Accessed 22 November 2019 at
  2. Mayo Clinic (2019). Small bowel cancer – diagnosis & treatment. Accessed 22 November 2019 at

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