Blood in your stool is a common symptom of small intestine cancer.

Small intestine cancer is also called small bowel cancer. It starts in the small intestine, which is the largest part of the digestive tract, the path that food takes through your body. So the symptoms are mostly related to eating and digestion.

They include:

  • Blood in your stool
  • Pain or cramping around your stomach or gut
  • A lump in your abdomen
  • Weight loss that you didn’t expect
  • Nausea and vomiting

There’s more to learn about small intestine cancer.

Your chances of getting small intestine cancer increase as you get older.

A risk factor is anything that increases your risk for a disease.

Small intestine cancer is rare, and it happens more often in people who are 80 or older, more commonly in men.

Some medical conditions that affect the digestive tract are risk factors, including:

  • Crohn’s disease
  • Celiac disease 
  • Lynch syndrome
  • Peutz-Jegherssyndrome
  • Familial adenomatous polyposis

And some lifestyle choices are risk factors, such as:

  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • A high-fat diet
Several tests may be needed for a small intestine cancer diagnosis.

If you have symptoms of small intestine cancer, your doctor will discuss your symptoms and your medical history with you.

To check for cancer, your doctor may have you go for imaging tests such as X-rays, CT, MRI, or PET scans.

Liver function tests and other blood tests can also be used to check for blood in your stool.

Your doctor might also recommend a procedure called an endoscopy, in which a long, thin tube with a camera in it is inserted into your body to look for tumors in the intestine.

Minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery can be used to treat small intestine cancer.

Surgery is often the best option to remove all or part of the small intestine. This can be done with a traditional open procedure or with a laparoscopic technique. In laparoscopic surgery, small “keyhole” cuts are made in your abdomen, and the surgeon inserts tiny instruments and a tube with a tiny camera to guide the procedure.

Chemotherapy and radiation also may be used to kill any cancer cells that weren’t removed in the surgery.

At Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center, we work as a team to treat your small intestine cancer.

Your team of specialists includes experts who specialize in treating patients who have small intestine cancer.

The team brings together surgical oncologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, radiologists, gastroenterologists, pathologists, pharmacists, genetics counselors, nurses, and others, all focused on making a treatment plan personalized for you and your cancer.

Treatment plans may include:

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Immunotherapy

Our doctors also are researchers who keep up to date on the latest advances in small intestine cancer care, so we can offer clinical trials of promising new therapies not yet widely available.

Cancer Care Clinics

University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics

200 Hawkins Drive
Iowa City, Iowa 52242

Clinical Cancer Center

21602 Pomerantz Family Pavilion (PFP)
Elevator M, Level 1
Phone: 1-319-356-4200

Cancer Services-Quad Cities

1351 Kimberly Road
Suite 100
Bettendorf, Iowa 52722

University of Iowa Health Care Cancer Services-Quad Cities

Phone: 1-563-355-7733