Small Intestine Cancer

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Small intestine cancer is a rare cancer but our experts know it well.

This cancer forms in tissues of the small intestine. This part of the digestive tract runs between the stomach and the large intestine.

Experts in All Types of Small Intestine Cancer

At UVA Health, you'll find experts in treating all types of small intestine cancer. Learn more about our GI oncology expertise.

  • Adenocarcinoma (begins in cells that make and release mucus and other fluids). It's the most common type.
  • Sarcoma (begins in connective or supportive tissue)
  • Carcinoid tumor (a slow-growing type of cancer)
  • Gastrointestinal stromal tumor (a type of soft tissue sarcoma)
  • Lymphoma (cancer that begins in immune system cells)

Who's at Risk?

Diet and health history can affect the risk of developing small intestine cancer. Other risk factors include:

  • Eating a high-fat diet
  • Having Crohn's disease
  • Having celiac disease
  • Having familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP)

Symptoms of Small Intestine Cancer

Check with your doctor if you have any of the following:

  • Pain or cramps in the middle of the abdomen
  • Weight loss with no known reason
  • A lump in the abdomen
  • Blood in the stool


The following tests and procedures may be used:

  • Physical exam and history
  • Blood chemistry studies
  • Liver function tests
  • Endoscopy
  • Upper endoscopy
  • Capsule endoscopy
  • Double balloon endoscopy
  • Laparotomy
  • Biopsy
  • Upper GI series with small bowel follow-through
  • CT scan (CAT scan)
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)

Treating Cancer of the Small Intestine

If your tumor can't be removed with surgery, we will use treatments that include: 

  • Surgery to bypass the tumor
  • Radiation therapy to relieve symptoms and improve quality of life
  • Chemotherapy