Neuroendocrine Tumor: Symptoms and Signs

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 11/2016

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.

People with a neuroendocrine tumor may experience the following symptoms or signs. Sometimes, people with a neuroendocrine tumor do not have any of these changes. Or, the cause of a symptom may be another medical condition that is not cancer.

Symptoms of pheochromocytoma

  • High blood pressure

  • Anxiety attacks

  • Fever

  • Headaches

  • Sweating

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Clammy skin

  • Rapid pulse

  • Heart palpitations

Symptoms of Merkel cell cancer

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

Symptoms of neuroendocrine carcinoma

  • Hyperglycemia, which is a high level of glucose in the blood. Glucose is a sugar that is converted into energy by the body. Hyperglycemia causes frequent urination, increased thirst, and increased hunger.

  • Hypoglycemia, which is a low level of glucose in the blood. It 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

  • A cough or hoarseness that does not go away

  • 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

  • Headaches

  • Anxiety

  • Gastric ulcer disease

  • Skin rash

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

If you are concerned about any changes you experience, 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 in this guide is Diagnosis. It explains what tests may be needed to learn more about the cause of the symptoms. Or, use the menu to choose another section to continue reading this guide.