Neuroendocrine Tumor of the Gastrointestinal Tract: Statistics

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 03/2023

ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about the estimated number of people who will be diagnosed with a neuroendocrine tumor of the gastrointestinal tract (GI tract NET) each year. You will also read general information on surviving the disease. Remember, survival rates depend on several factors, and no 2 people with a tumor are the same. Use the menu to see other pages.

Every person is different, with different factors influencing their risk of being diagnosed with this tumor and the chance of recovery after a diagnosis. It is important to talk with your doctor about any questions you have around the general statistics provided below and what they may mean for you individually. The original sources for these statistics are provided at the bottom of this page.

How many people are diagnosed with a GI tract NET?

As explained in the Introduction, NETs often develop in the GI tract. The number of diagnosed NETs has been increasing for years, but the reason for this is unknown. This increase is thought to be related to improvements in the way NETs are diagnosed, including better imaging tests and endoscopy, and increased awareness of these tumors.

Each year, about 8,000 adults in the United States are diagnosed with a GI tract NET. The most common places in the GI tract for this type of tumor are the small intestine and rectum.

What is the survival rate for a GI tract NET?

There are different types of statistics that can help doctors evaluate a person’s chance of recovery from a GI tract NET. These are called survival statistics. A specific type of survival statistic is called the relative survival rate. It is often used to predict how having a tumor may affect life expectancy. Relative survival rate looks at how likely people with a GI tract NET are to survive for a certain amount of time after their initial diagnosis or start of treatment compared to the expected survival of similar people without this tumor.

Example: Here is an example to help explain what a relative survival rate means. Please note this is only an example and not specific to this type of cancer. Let’s assume that the 5-year relative survival rate for a specific type of cancer is 90%. “Percent” means how many out of 100. Imagine there are 1,000 people without cancer, and based on their age and other characteristics, you expect 900 of the 1,000 to be alive in 5 years. Also imagine there are another 1,000 people similar in age and other characteristics as the first 1,000, but they all have the specific type of cancer that has a 5-year survival rate of 90%. This means it is expected that 810 of the people with the specific cancer (90% of 900) will be alive in 5 years.

It is important to remember that statistics on the survival rates for people with a GI tract NET are only an estimate. They cannot tell an individual person if the tumor will or will not shorten their life. Instead, these statistics describe trends in groups of people previously diagnosed with the same disease, including specific stages of the disease.

The 5-year relative survival rate for a GI tract NET is 94%.

The survival rates for a GI tract NET vary based on several factors. These include the stage and grade of tumor, a person’s age and general health, and how well the treatment plan works. Another factor that can affect outcomes is the specific location of the tumor.

The 5-year relative survival rate for people with a GI tract NET that has not spread to other parts of the body from where it started is 97%. If the tumor has spread to nearby tissue or the regional lymph nodes, the 5-year relative survival rate is 96%. If the tumor has spread to distant areas of the body, the relative 5-year survival rate is 68%.

Experts measure relative survival rate statistics for a GI tract NET every 5 years. This means the estimate may not reflect the results of advancements in how a GI tract NET is diagnosed or treated from the last 5 years. Talk with your doctor if you have any questions about this information. Learn more about understanding statistics.

Statistics adapted from the American Cancer Society website. Additional source was Dasari A, et al.: Trends in the Incidence, Prevalence, and Survival Outcomes in Patients With Neuroendocrine Tumors in the United States. JAMA Oncol. 2017;3(10):1335–1342. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2017.0589. (All sources accessed March 2023.)

The next section in this guide is Medical Illustrations. It offers a drawing of the main body parts often affected by a GI tract NET. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.