Are carcinoid tumors benign?

No. Carcinoid tumors are not benign. They are typically (but not always) slower growing than other tumors. They can spread if not found and therefore should be removed.
Confusing. Carcinoid tumors are classified as typical or atypical depending on what they look like under the microscope and how this relates to how they behave clinically. Typical carcinoids are most often very slow growing and patients can live to die of other things. Atypical carcinoids will have a less predictable biology and are more likely to require treatment.
No. Carcinoid tumors can spread like any other cancer. Symptoms are usually related to the substances produced by the tumor making it into the circulation.

Related Questions

What are carcinoid tumors / syndrome?

Neuroendocrine tumor. It is a relatively benign type of tumor that can secrete a variety of hormones, most notably serotonin. They are most commonly found in the gut or the lungs. They do not come from the lining of the lungs or the gut (as adenocarcinomata do). They come from a different line of cells. Carcinoid syndrome occurs when large amounts of serotonin get into the bloodstream, assoc with flushing and diarrhea.

What are the tests for carcinoid tumors?

Biopsy. Confirmation of diagnosis is via a biopsy; other tests include blood tests (blood counts, chemistries, serotonin, chromogranin), urine tests (for 5hiaa) as well as ct scans and octreotide scans.

Are the symptoms of carcinoid tumors bad?

Not always! The most common place to have a carcinoid is the appendix. When the tumor is there, and most of the other common locations which are in the intestinal tract, you don't feel anything because the liver removes the hormones the tumors produce. Only when the tumors are large, outside the intestinal tract, or metastatic do the symptoms occur. They can get very bad then.

What's the safest way to treat carcinoid tumors?

Location? Extent? Tumors of neuroendocrine origin; can be hard to localize; can be in appendix, rectum, bowel, stomach/duodenum, ovaries, bronchi (breathing tubes), elsewhere. "low" malignant potential, but can be aggressive, spread; can cause abd pain, ;"syndrome" with flushing, wheezing, murmurs, etc. Small ones can be cured by surgical removal; may need chemo, embolization, or octreotide rx for symptom control.
Carcinoid. Carcinoid tumors can arise from many different organs. The best way to treat them is surgical excision if possible. There are medical treatments available for non-resectable tumors or metastatic tumors that are partially effective.
Surgical removal. Removal of all measureable disease has the greatest impact on survival. When the disease is located in several sites, control of symptoms becomes the next highest priority since uncontrolled symptoms can affect both quantity and quality of life. Local therapies to the liver are commonly used for patients with liver only or liver dominant spread.

Who is most prone to getting carcinoid tumors/syndrome?

Not known. Carcinoid tumors of the bowel are neuroendocrine tumors that have a high propensity of spreading to the liver and producing the carcinoid syndrome. The lesions arise anywhere in the bowel and respond to the same chemo used for small cell neuroendocrine of lung. They even arise in organs like pancreas, like Jobs had but are not pancreatic tumors. Cause is not known but possibly viral in etiology.

What are the symptoms of carcinoid tumors I should be looking for?

Carcinoid tumor. Carcinoid tumors can be found in several places in the intestines. They do not cause symptoms unless the liver is affected. Carcinoid syndrome can be associated with flushing, increase in blood pressure, irregular heart beat, etc. If a carcinoid is located with a bowel lumen it can cause blockage. Carcinoids can spread directly to other areas. Usually not by blood stream.
Major nsymptoms. You should be looking for a combination of frequent loosr watery stool in combination with fascila flushing.