The Small Bowel Tumor Problem An Assessment Based on a 20 year Experience with 116 Cases

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Documented rarity, diagnostic difficulty and poor results stimulated this study of 79 malignant and 37 benign small bowel tumors in order to emphasize these lesions, determine their symptomatology and improve diagnosis and results, particularly in the malignant group. Chief symptoms were recurrent abdominal pain and tenderness, signs of obstruction and gastrointestinal bleeding. Fourteen cases were asymptomatic. The mean symptom-diagnosis interval was 6.6 months. Roentgenographic contrast studies were helpful in diagnosing 33 of 43 patients, with false negatives in 10. Laboratory studies were usually not helpful. Metastases were present at the time of surgery in approximately 58%. In the malignant group curative procedures were performed in 36 and palliative in 43, with an operative mortality of 10%. Five and 10 year survival rates were respectively 21/51 (41.2%) and 8/38 (21.2%) for malignancies. Individual 5 and 10 year survival rates were respectively as follows: carcinoid 11/15, 4/8; un-differentiated carcinoma 3/5, 1/3; lymphoma 3/11, 1/9; leiomyosarcoina 2/7, 1/6 and adenocarcinoma 2/13, 1/12. In the benign group results were excellent, except for one death from pulmonary embolism. The study suggests that if results with malignant small bowel tumors are to be improved, prompt diagnostic study and early consideration of laparotomy in patients with suggestive symptoms is mandatory.

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