Physicians are often taught that "when you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras." When confronted with a set of fairly generic symptoms, physicians will tend to identify common conditions as the cause rather than something rare or exotic. However, if the cause is a "zebra", the consequences can be devastating.
Today, November 10, is NET Cancer Day -- a day dedicated to raising awareness of this rare disease -- a zebra rather than a horse. My family has been impacted this year, so this cause is particularly significant for me.
Neuroendocrine tumors -- NET Cancer -- is a rare cancer type that is often misdiagnosed until it reaches advanced stages. Because It can affect younger people in their 30s and 40s, typical symptoms that signal NET cancer -- excessive diarrhea, abdominal pain, flushing -- are often thought to be due to conditions other than cancer, leading to a delay in a diagnosis and treatment.
Awareness is key. An imaging scan can confirm if abdominal pain is just acid reflux or something as serious -- and rare -- as NET cancer. Ask questions and be proactive about the possibilities. For more information, check out Net Cancer Day -- and spread the word!