My mother has carcinoid tumors all over the lining of her stomach. She has a lot of gas pains no matter what she eats. She takes Gas X, Symax-SL, Ativan, and Carafate. She takes her Sandostatin shot monthly and helps with the flushing and diarehia. Is there anything else you might think of to help with this gas pain?
Thank you for your inquiry. Carcinoid tumors are usually a slow-growing type of cancer that can arise in several places throughout the body, yet they usually appears in the gastrointestinal tract (such as - appendix, stomach, small intestine, colon or rectum). Occasionally carcinoid tumors may begin in other organs, such as the ovaries or testes. Most often these tumors are diagnosed late in the disease, since they rarely cause signs and symptoms. Carcinoid tumors can produce and release hormones into the body that cause signs and symptoms such as diarrhea and skin flushing (redness or feeling of warmth in your face and neck). Your mom has both of these common related symptoms. The symptoms of carcinoid tumors may vary, depending on the location of the tumor. Additional signs and symptoms of carcinoid tumors may include: changes in bowel movements, chest pain, difficulty breathing, rectal bleeding, rectal pain, recurrent pneumonia and bowel obstruction.
Octreotide (Sandostatin) is a monthly injection that will help to slow the rate of growth of the carcinoid tumor, which directly reduces the diarrhea and flushing in most people. Side effects of the Octreotid include abdominal pain and bloating, diarrhea and nausea. Over time these symptoms may subside. Some individuals stop taking the drug because they can't tolerate the side effects.
You are asking for additional recommendations to address the gas pains. As I review your "tool box of medications:" Gas-X, Symax-SL, Ativan and Carafate, it looks as if you are aggressively approaching this problem. Some may consider "Beano," which is a natural food enzyme that may be taken as a dietary supplement before eating to help reduce gas. According to one of our oncology PharmDs, this will not interfere with the action of Octreotid. It is vital to eliminate foods that may be gas forming, such as cauliflower, corn, etc. Perhaps request a referral to the dietician in your Center. There are over forty dieticians at this institution who work directly with patients. Each Center has a dietician specialized in managing specific dietary "challenges" related to each tumor type. There is NO CHARGE for dietary consult. We value managing patient's protein/calorie needs to help maintain best opportunity for qualilty of life.
If the gas pain becomes too intense I would recommend you contact your physician for a consult. We want your Mom to be able to "stop, smell and enjoy the roses." (She can do that since she is not neutropenic.) I would recommend a visit to the Place of Wellness here at MDACC. Support programs are available for both you and your Mom. Perhaps some of the participants in these sessions would be able to provide "pointers" that have worked for them, related to your Mom's specific problems. Also, you might wish to schedule a free consult for your Mom to learn ways to minimize the stress with guided imagery, self-hypnosis, stress management, music therapy. Perhaps some acupuncture sessions to stimulate gastric flow may help with her discomfort . Acupuncture is known to help control of chemotherapy induced nausea/vomiting, fatigue/well-being and "restoring health." For more information on this you can contact the Place of Wellness at 713-794-4700.
That is about all that I can think of at this time that might be of help for you and your Mom. You are in our thoughts and prayers. May God bless you. Keep us posted! Millie :)