Appendix Tumors

Though appendicitis is the most common condition of the appendix, other serious less common conditions can affect this organ. The appendix can be the site of growths or tumors that may be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). An adenoma is a benign tumor. Cancer of the appendix, also called appendiceal cancer, is rare and includes carcinoid tumors, non-carcinoid tumors, pseudomyxoma peritonei (PMP) and adenocarcinoid tumors. Appendix cancers are difficult to detect as symptoms mimic other disorders. Most cancers of the appendix are found during surgery for appendicitis or on a CT scan for an unrelated condition.

Surgeons at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) offer the latest treatments for patients with appendix tumors and appendix cancer. Our expert board certified surgeons perform a high volume of surgical procedures on the appendix each year. This depth of experience has been shown to result in improved care for more common operations such as laparoscopic appendectomy and more successful outcomes for minimally invasive surgical approaches for appendix cancers.

Appendix Tumors Topics

Treatment for Appendix Adenomas

Adenomas are benign growths in the appendix. Treatment for appendix adenomas depends on the type, location and size of the tumor and whether it has ruptured. If the tumor (also called cyst or lesion) has burst, the cells released may produce large amounts of mucous (adenomucinosis), a jellylike substance that can lead to the cancerous condition pseudomyxoma peritonei (PMP).

Surgery for adenomas of the appendix that have not ruptured:

Surgery for adenomas of the appendix that have ruptured:

Treatment for Appendix Cancer

Appendix cancer is a very rare type of cancer. Surgeons at Brigham and Women’s Hospital are the surgical team for Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center (DF/BWCC), a collaboration between two world-class medical centers. 

Surgery is the main treatment for appendix cancer. The type of surgery depends on the type of appendix cancer:

  • Carcinoid tumors are most common in women in their 40s, tend to be small and can be treated successfully.
  • Non-carcinoid tumors begin in the epithelial cells inside the appendix. Epithelial cells produce mucin, a jellylike substance, which can spread in the abdomen.
  • Pseudomyxoma peritonei (PMP) begins as a slow-growing tumor called a low-grade mucinous appendiceal eoplasm (LAMN).
  • Adenocarcinoid tumors also called goblet cell carcinomas have similarities to both carcinoid and adenocarcinoma tumors. Most patients are diagnosed in their 50s.

Surgical treatment for appendix cancer may include:

  • Surgery to remove the appendix can be done as an open or laparoscopic appendectomy, and may involve the right colon (partial colectomy) and surrounding lymph nodes.
  • Cytoreductive (tumor debulking) surgery to remove the tumor and mucin spread in the abdomen. Parts of the intestine, gallbladder, ovaries, uterus and lining of the abdominal cavity may be removed.
What You Should Expect

You will receive a thorough diagnostic examination to evaluate if you have an appendix tumor or cancer and determine what course of treatment is needed. Careful monitoring and the involvement of an experienced surgeon are important to the successful outcome for patients with appendix tumors and cancer.

If you are having surgery or a procedure, you will likely be scheduled for a visit to the Weiner Center for Preoperative Evaluation for pre-operative information and tests.

The day of surgery, you will be cared for in the operating room by surgeons, anesthesiologists and nurses with expertise in surgery for patients with appendix tumors. After surgery, you will recover in the post-surgical care unit where you will receive comprehensive care by an experienced surgical and nursing staff.

Learn more about your hospital stay and returning home.

Multidisciplinary Care

Brigham and Women’s Hospital provides a multidisciplinary approach to patient care by collaborating with colleagues who have extensive experience diagnosing and treating appendix tumors and cancer. We treat patients with appendix cancer through the Center for Esophageal and Gastric Cancer at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center. Our treatment team includes surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists, nutritionists, pathologists, anesthesiologists and gastroenterologists. In addition, patients have full access to BWH’s world-renowned academic medical community with its diverse specialists and state-of-the-art facilities.

Appendix Tumor Surgery Appointments and Locations

Contact one of our appendix tumor surgeons in the list at the top of the page to make an appointment.

Appendix Tumor Surgery Locations

Resources

Learn more about appendix tumors in our health library.

Visit the Kessler Health Education Library in the Bretholtz Center for Patients and Families to access computers and knowledgeable staff.

Visit the Weiner Center for Preoperative Evaluation.

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