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November 7, 2019

Neuroendocrine Tumors—Less Well Known, Often Misunderstood, and Rapidly Growing in Incidence

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Medical Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Kentucky, Lexington
  • 2Neuroendocrine and Gynecologic Cancer Therapeutics, Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland
  • 3Medical Oncology and Clinical Endocrinology, Center for Cancer Research Rare Tumor Clinic, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland
JAMA Oncol. 2020;6(1):21-22. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2019.4568

Cancer is a great equalizer; it does not differentiate between rich or poor, young or old. The history of cancer is as ancient as the origins of humans and continues to be an enigma in the 21st century. Much has been uncovered about the causes of various cancers, and tremendous advances in both diagnostics and therapeutics have occurred. Indeed, patients with cancer today are living longer and with a better quality of life, and the horizon looks even more promising. However, one supposedly rare neoplastic condition called neuroendocrine tumor (NET) is often ceded to obscurity by academia, the pharmaceutical industry, health care policy makers, and media. Although celebrities, including Steve Jobs and Aretha Franklin, have received diagnoses of NET, public awareness about this condition has been lacking.

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    1 Comment for this article
    A noteworthy increase in incidence shouldn't go without pursuit of explanation
    Diana T Chingos, MS, MFA, | Independent Cancer Patient Advocate
    You wrote: "The 7-fold increase in incidence is noteworthy, and if the current trend continues, we will be obligated to look into environmental factors that might be contributing to this increase." Why isn't a 7-fold increase in incidence in itself an obligation to look into environmental factors that might be contributing to this increase?