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Appendix Cancer

gi overview

Appendix cancers are a very rare group of cancers that originate in various cells of the appendix, a small tube-like organ at the transition of the small and large intestine. They affect fewer than 2,000 people in the United States each year. Carcinoid tumors, also called neuroendocrine tumors, account for roughly 50 percent of appendix cancers. These tumors are often small and can be treated with appendectomy alone, but in some cases may require more extensive surgery. Because appendix cancer is such a rare cancer, it is critical for patients to get care from physicians highly experienced in treating this disease.

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Appendix Cancer at Markey Cancer Center

Using state-of-the-art technology and leading-edge medical and surgical interventions, Markey’s appendix cancer team provides advanced and timely diagnosis and individualized, ongoing care for patients. Each patient is cared for by a team of specialists who meet regularly to discuss individual patient cases and treatment plans. This multidisciplinary team will work with you and your doctor to coordinate a care plan designed to offer the best outcomes.

Markey has provided state-of-the-art cancer care for more than 30 years, and we are proud to be the only cancer center in Kentucky designated by the National Cancer Institute. Since 2017, Markey Cancer Center has been nationally recognized as a top 50 cancer center by U.S. News & World Report.

  • Symptoms

    Appendix cancer can cause a variety of symptoms, including:

    • Chronic pain in the right lower abdomen
    • Diarrhea
    • Fullness or bloating
    • Loss of appetite
    • Pelvic or lower abdominal pain
    • Unexplained weight loss
  • Survival Rates

    Appendix cancer is rare, and survival rates are based on how these groups have recovered in the past. According to the National Cancer Institute, these statistics are imprecise. The five-year survival rate for neuroendocrine appendix cancer and other low-grade tumors is between 67 and 97 percent. The survival rate for more advanced cancer of the appendix that has spread to other parts of the body can be much lower.

  • Prevention

    You can lower your risk of cancer by taking steps to build a healthy lifestyle. Here are some ways you can lower your risk for this disease, as well as improve your overall basic health:

    • Avoid using tobacco products. Tobacco has been tied to multiple cancers, and it is responsible for 90 percent of lung cancer deaths.
    • Stay physically active. Your physical activity is related to risk for colon and breast cancer. Excess weight gained from inactivity increases the risk of multiple cancers.
    • Limit alcohol consumption. It is important to be mindful of how much alcohol you drink. Alcohol intake, even in moderate amounts, can increase the risk for colon, breast, esophageal and oropharyngeal cancer.
    • Learn about screenings. Your primary care doctor can recommend appropriate cancer screenings based on your age, personal risk and family history.
  • Risk Factors

    • Age. On average, people with appendix cancer are diagnosed at age 40.
    • Gender. Women are more likely to develop appendix cancer than men.
    • Family history. People are at a higher risk if they have close relatives with appendix cancer or a disease called multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1, also known as Wermer syndrome.
    • Medical history. People are at a higher risk who have had conditions that affect acid production in the stomach, such as atrophic gastritis, pernicious anemia or Zollinger-Ellison syndrome.
    • Smoking. Appendix cancer is more common in smokers than non-smokers.
  • Clinical trials

    Clinical trials are research studies aimed at evaluating medical, surgical or behavioral interventions to determine whether a new treatment is safe and effective.  

    At UK Markey Cancer Center, we are advancing cancer care and research to prevent, detect and treat cancer – one patient at a time. As a patient at Markey, you have a team of people looking at your individual case, applying the most recent cancer knowledge to give you the best chance of survival.

    Markey has more open clinical trials than any other cancer center in the region, giving you access to some of the most advanced options available. Learn more about ongoing clinical trials for treating appendix cancer below.

  • Locations


    Multidisciplinary Clinic

    Whitney Hendrickson Building

    UK Markey Cancer Center

    Whitney-Hendrickson Building
    800 Rose St.
    First Floor
    Lexington, KY 40536

    A parking lot is located near the Whitney-Hendrickson Building, accessible via Hospital Drive. Get directions to Whitney-Hendrickson.

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