NET Cancer Day – Raising awareness of neuroendocrine tumours around the world

NET Cancer Day (November 10th) is an annual, global awareness raising event created by the International Neuroendocrine Cancer Alliance (INCA) with the aim of raising the awareness of neuroendocrine tumours around the world.

The background

Neuroendocrine tumours (NETs) is the umbrella term for a group of unusual, often slow growing cancers, which develop from cells in the diffuse endocrine system. They are most commonly in the lung or gastrointestinal system, but they can arise in other parts of the body, such as the pancreas, ovary and testes, among other sites.

The diffuse endocrine system is made up of neuroendocrine cells which are found in the respiratory and digestive tracks, located within the endocrine glands and present in the ovaries and testes. NET cancers develop when these cells divide uncontrollably into a tumour. While normal cells divide controllably within the body, tumours form when the control signals go wrong.

There are many different types of NETs and they all have a slightly different way of presenting themselves, both in terms of symptoms and how they look under a microscope:

Carcinoids – lung, thymic, gastric, duodenal, pancreatic, small intestine, appendiceal, colon, rectal, ovarian and carcinoid tumors of unknown origin (unknown primary)

Functioning and Non-Functioning Pancreatic Tumors:

  • Multiple Endocrine Neoplasias
  • Gastrinomas
  • Insulinomas
  • Glucagonomas
  • Pheochromocytomas
  • VIPomas
  • Somatostatinomas
  • Goblet Cell Carcinoids

The most common sites for NETs to occur are in the lung and digestive system, but they can also arise in other parts of the body such as the pancreas.

Different NET cancers affect people in different ways in terms of how the tumour grows, the symptoms produced, whether they spread and how they spread. However, all do share some similar characteristics which leads to the most important aspect of NET patient care being that it is tailored to suit the individual, along with being seen by a specialist healthcare professional to access all the knowledge available.

The campaign

Coordinated by the International Neuroendocrine Cancer Alliance (INCA), the aim is the raise awareness of NET cancers and to voice the needs of NET community for improved diagnostics, information, care and research.

INCA members from 17 countries around the world are partnering with local cafes and community groups to share coffee in Let’s Talk about NETS branded coffee cups and make local public learn about NETs and to stir awareness amongst their friends and ask their doctors.

World NET Caner Day is also a worldwide effort to bring hope to people living with NET cancers, their caregivers and families.