According to the wellness website Healthline, a somatostatinoma is a rare type of neuroendocrine tumor that grows in the pancreas and sometimes the small bowel. A neuroendocrine tumor is one that is made up of hormone-producing cells. These hormone-producing cells are called islet cells. The pancreas is a long flattened gland located deep in the belly (abdomen). The pancreas is a vital part of the digestive system and a critical controller of blood sugar levels.

A somatostatinoma develops specifically in the Delta (D) islet cell, which is responsible for producing the hormone somatostatin. The tumor causes these cells to produce more of this hormone.

When your body produces extra somatostatin hormones, it stops producing other pancreatic hormones. When those other hormones become scarce, it eventually leads to symptoms appearing.

According to Healthline, the symptoms of a somatostatinoma usually start mild and increase in severity gradually. These symptoms are similar to those caused by other medical conditions. For this reason, it’s important that you make an appointment with your doctor to get a correct diagnosis. This should ensure proper treatment for any medical condition underlying your symptoms.

Common symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhea, bowel blockage and/or unexplained weight loss.

How is it diagnosed?

Commonly, your medical health provider may start with a blood test. However, as part of their diagnostic process, they may recommend either a Computed Tomography (CT) or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) exam. These tests allow your doctor to see the tumor, which may be either cancerous or noncancerous. Unfortunately, the majority of somatostatinomas are cancerous.

As with any cancer, early detection and treatment is the key to long-term survival. The earlier treatment begins, the better the prognosis.

Diagnostic Imaging Services performs a wide range of advanced imaging exams, including CT and MRI. These exams can be scheduled at all six DIS locations covering Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi River. Click the REQUEST AN APPOINTMENT button (above right) to send us an email requesting scheduling assistance

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