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The appendix is a pouch-like tube that is attached to the cecum (the first section of the large intestine or colon) and is part of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The appendix is generally thought to have no significant function in the body but may play a role in the lymphatic, exocrine, or endocrine systems.
Appendix cancer, also called appendiceal cancer, occurs when healthy cells in the appendix change and grow out of control and form a tumor. These tumors can be cancerous or benign, and may spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body.
The two main types of appendix cancer are called carcinoid tumors and carcinomas.
Carcinoid tumors are the most common appendix cancers, making up about half of those diagnosed. They are usually found at the tip of the appendix. Because there are no symptoms, these tumors are often detected after the appendix has been removed. A carcinoid tumor that has not spread has a high chance of successful treatment with surgery.
Carcinomas of the appendix include:
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