What is an endoscopy?

You may be offered an endoscopy to help with the diagnosis of NETs. These procedures are usually carried out under sedation allowing the doctor to see inside your stomach and colon by using a long, thin and flexible telescope with a camera at one end.

What happens during an endoscopy?

Small tissue samples (biopsies) may be taken to confirm diagnosis and to provide information about how fast the tumour is growing. The small intestine (where most NETs develop) cannot be accessed easily by endoscopy so sometimes a camera in a pill (capsule endoscopy) is used to obtain pictures of the small intestine.

Small early stage NETs can sometimes be removed from the stomach or colon during the endoscopy, as long as they haven't spread to lymph nodes or elsewhere in the body.

Occasionally a stent is required if there is a blockage in the gut or bile duct. A stent is a small mesh tube that acts like a scaffold to help open up the area where the blockage needs removing.

Endoscopic ultrasound is sometimes used to assess NETs before surgery or to obtain a tissue sample. This uses a special telescope with a miniature ultrasound scanner on the tip of the telescope.

The full range of endoscopic services are available at Southampton, Portsmouth and Dorset.