El cáncer de intestino delgado puede ser difícil de diagnosticar. Es posible que necesites exámenes de diagnóstico por imágenes, como TC, IRM, radiografías y PET. Es posible que también deban inyectarte una sustancia radioactiva para algunos análisis de diagnóstico por imágenes. Asimismo, es posible que te sometas a un examen en el que se te inserta un tubo largo y delgado con una cámara pequeña. Si no se encuentra el cáncer con estos análisis, se puede tratar de ubicarlo mediante cirugía.

Imaging tests

Imaging tests use machines to create pictures of the body in order to look for signs of small bowel cancer. Imaging tests used to diagnose small bowel cancer include:

  • CT
  • MRI
  • Positron emission tomography (PET)
  • X-rays of the upper digestive system and small bowel after drinking a solution containing barium (upper gastrointestinal series with small bowel follow-through)
  • Nuclear medicine scans, which use a small amount of radioactive tracer to enhance imaging tests

Tests to see inside your small intestine

Endoscopic tests involve placing a camera inside your small intestine so that your doctor can examine the inside walls. Endoscopic tests may include:

  • Upper endoscopy
  • Capsule endoscopy, which is sometimes called a pill camera
  • Single-balloon enteroscopy
  • Double-balloon enteroscopy
  • Spiral enteroscopy

Endoscopic tests, other than the capsule endoscopy, allow doctors to pass special tools into the small intestine to remove tissue samples for testing.


Sometimes small bowel cancers are located in places that make them very difficult to see with other tests. In these cases, your doctor may recommend surgery to examine your small intestine and the surrounding area for signs of cancer.

Surgery can involve one large incision in your abdomen (laparotomy), or it can involve several small incisions (laparoscopy).

During laparoscopy, your surgeon passes special surgical tools through the incisions, as well as a video camera. The camera allows the surgeon to guide the tools and see inside your abdomen.


La forma en que se trata el cáncer de intestino delgado depende del tipo de cáncer que tengas y de su estadio. Es posible que debas someterte a una cirugía para extirpar el cáncer. También puedes recibir otros tipos de tratamiento, como quimioterapia y radioterapia.

Estudios clínicos

Explora los estudios de Mayo Clinic de evaluación de tratamientos, intervenciones y análisis nuevos como medio para prevenir, detectar, tratar o controlar esta enfermedad.

Estrategias de afrontamiento y apoyo

With time, you'll find what helps you cope with the uncertainty and distress of a small bowel cancer diagnosis. Until then, you may find it helps to:

  • Learn enough about small bowel cancer to make decisions about your care. Ask your doctor about your cancer, including your test results, treatment options and, if you like, your prognosis. As you learn more about small bowel cancer, you may become more confident in making treatment decisions.
  • Keep friends and family close. Keeping your close relationships strong will help you deal with your small bowel cancer. Friends and family can provide the practical support you'll need, such as helping take care of your house if you're in the hospital. And they can serve as emotional support when you feel overwhelmed by cancer.
  • Find someone to talk with. Find a good listener who is willing to listen to you talk about your hopes and fears. This may be a friend or family member. The concern and understanding of a counselor, medical social worker, clergy member or cancer support group also may be helpful.

    Ask your doctor about support groups in your area. Other sources of information include the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society.

Preparación para la consulta

Make an appointment with your doctor if you have any signs or symptoms that worry you. If your doctor suspects you might have cancer, you may be referred to a specialist.

Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment.

What you can do

When you make the appointment, ask if there's anything you need to do in advance, such as fasting before having a specific test. Make a list of:

  • Your symptoms, including any that seem unrelated to the reason for your appointment
  • Key personal information, including major stresses, recent life changes and family medical history
  • All medications, vitamins or other supplements you take, including the doses
  • Questions to ask your doctor

Consider bringing a family member or friend to help you remember the information you're given.

For small bowel cancer, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • What's likely causing my symptoms?
  • Other than the most likely cause, what are other possible causes for my symptoms?
  • What tests do I need?
  • What's the best course of action?
  • What are the alternatives to the primary approach you're suggesting?
  • I have these other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
  • Are there restrictions I need to follow?
  • Should I see a specialist?
  • Are there brochures or other printed material I can have? What websites do you recommend?

Don't hesitate to ask other questions.

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask you several questions, such as:

  • When did your symptoms begin?
  • Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
  • How severe are your symptoms?
  • What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
  • What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?

Cáncer del intestino delgado - atención en Mayo Clinic

Oct. 20, 2018
  1. Cusack JC, et al. Epidemiology, clinical features and types of small bowel neoplasms (Epidemiología, características clínicas y tipos de neoplasias del intestino delgado). http://www.uptodate.com/home. Último acceso: 13 de septiembre de 2016.
  2. Cusack JC, et al. Treatment of small bowel neoplasms (Tratamiento para neoplasias del intestino delgado). http://www.uptodate.com/home. Último acceso: 13 de septiembre de 2016.
  3. Cusack JC, et al. Diagnosis and staging of small bowel neoplasms (Diagnóstico y estadificación de neoplasias del intestino delgado). http://www.uptodate.com/home. Último acceso: 14 de septiembre de 2016.