Descripción general

El cáncer de intestino delgado es un tipo de cáncer poco frecuente que ocurre en el intestino delgado. El intestino delgado es un tubo largo que transporta comida digerida desde el estómago hasta el intestino grueso (colon).

Los tipos de cáncer de intestino delgado comprenden:

  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Sarcoma, como el tumor del estroma gastrointestinal
  • Tumores carcinoides
  • Linfoma

Las opciones de tratamiento que mejor se adaptan a ti dependen del tipo de cáncer del intestino delgado que tengas y de su estadio.



Signs and symptoms of small bowel cancer include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes (jaundice)
  • Feeling unusually weak or tired
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Losing weight without trying
  • Blood in the stool, which might appear red or black
  • Watery diarrhea
  • Skin flushing


Doctors aren't certain what causes most small bowel cancers.

In general, small bowel cancer begins when healthy cells in the small bowel develop changes (mutations) in their DNA. A cell's DNA contains a set of instructions that tell a cell what to do.

Healthy cells grow and divide in an orderly way to keep your body functioning normally. But when a cell's DNA is damaged and becomes cancerous, cells continue to divide — even when new cells aren't needed. As these cells accumulate, they form a tumor.

With time, the cancer cells can grow to invade and destroy normal tissue nearby. And cancerous cells can spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body.

Factores de riesgo

Factors that may increase the risk of small bowel cancer include:

  • Gene mutations passed through families. Some gene mutations that are inherited from your parents can increase your risk of small bowel cancer and other cancers. Examples include Lynch syndrome, familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) and Peutz-Jeghers syndrome.
  • Other bowel diseases. Other diseases and conditions that affect the intestines may increase the risk of small bowel cancer, including Crohn's disease, inflammatory bowel disease and celiac disease.
  • Weakened immune system. If your body's germ-fighting immune system is weakened, you may have an increased risk of small bowel cancer. Examples include people with HIV infection and those who take anti-rejection medicine after an organ transplant.


Small bowel cancer can cause complications, including:

  • An increased risk of other cancers. People who have small bowel cancer run a higher risk of having other types of cancers, including those that affect the colon, rectum, ovaries and the lining of the uterus (endometrium).
  • Cancer that spreads to other parts of the body. Advanced small bowel cancer can spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body, most often the liver.


It's not clear what may help to reduce the risk of small bowel cancer, since it's very uncommon. If you're interested in reducing your risk of cancer in general, it may help to:

  • Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains contain vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants, which may help reduce your risk of cancer and other diseases. Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables so that you get an array of vitamins and nutrients.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all. If you choose to drink alcohol, limit the amount of alcohol you drink to no more than one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than age 65, and up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger.
  • Stop smoking. Talk to your doctor about ways to quit that may work for you.
  • Exercise most days of the week. Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days. If you've been inactive, start slowly and build up gradually to 30 minutes. Also, talk to your doctor before starting any exercise program.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. If you are at a healthy weight, work to maintain your weight by combining a healthy diet with daily exercise. If you need to lose weight, ask your doctor about healthy ways to achieve your goal. Aim to lose weight slowly by increasing the amount of exercise you get and reducing the number of calories you eat.

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). Último acceso: 13 de septiembre de 2016.
  2. Cusack JC, et al. Treatment of small bowel neoplasms (Tratamiento para neoplasias del intestino delgado). 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). Último acceso: 14 de septiembre de 2016.