Neuroendocrine Tumor: Symptoms and Signs

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 04/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about body changes and other things that can signal a problem that may need medical care. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

People with a neuroendocrine tumor may experience the following symptoms or signs. Sometimes, people with a neuroendocrine tumor do not show any of these symptoms. Or, these symptoms may be caused by a medical condition that is not cancer.

Pheochromocytoma

  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Anxiety attacks
  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Clammy skin
  • Rapid pulse
  • Heart palpitations

Merkel cell cancer

  • Painless, firm, shiny lumps on the skin that can be red, pink, or blue in color

Neuroendocrine carcinoma

  • Hyperglycemia, which is a high level of a sugar called glucose in the blood and causes frequent urination, increased thirst, and increased hunger
  • Hypoglycemia, which is a low level of glucose in the blood and causes fatigue, nervousness and shakiness, dizziness or light-headedness, sweating, seizures, and fainting
  • Diarrhea
  • Persistent pain in a specific area
  • Loss of appetite or weight loss
  • Persistent cough or hoarseness
  • Thickening or lump in any part of the body
  • Changes in bowel or bladder habits
  • Unexplained weight gain or loss
  • Jaundice, which is the yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes
  • Unusual bleeding or discharge
  • Persistent fever or night sweats
  • Headache
  • Anxiety
  • Gastric ulcer disease
  • Skin rash

Some people also experience nutritional deficiencies, such as niacin and protein deficiency, before a diagnosis, while others develop this symptom later.

If you are concerned about one or more of the symptoms or signs on this list, please talk with your doctor. Your doctor will ask how long and how often you’ve been experiencing the symptom(s), in addition to other questions. This is to help find out the cause of the problem, called a diagnosis.

If a neuroendocrine tumor is diagnosed, relieving symptoms remains an important part of your medical care and treatment. This may also be called symptom management, palliative care, or supportive care. Be sure to talk with your health care team about symptoms you experience, including any new symptoms or a change in symptoms.

The next section helps explain what tests and scans may be needed to learn more about the cause of the symptoms. Use the menu on the side of your screen to select Diagnosis, or you can select another section, to continue reading this guide.