As with most cancers, intestinal cancer develops when defective or mutated cells grow out of control and form a tumor. Intestinal cancer, also called small intestine cancer or small bowel cancer, usually starts in the lining of the small intestine and may spread to other parts of the body. Most cases of intestinal cancer develop in the duodenum, or upper part of the organ.
The main types of small intestine cancer include:
Adenocarcinomas, the most common type of small intestine cancer, usually develop in the cells that line the walls of the small intestine. Often, this type of cancer will develop out of small benign (noncancerous) growths called polyps.
Sarcoma is a type of intestinal cancer that develops in the connective tissue of the small intestine.
Gastrointestinal stromal tumors are variants of soft tissue sarcoma.
Carcinoid tumors form in the lining of the intestines and are often are slow-growing.
Lymphomas are an immune system disease that may originate in the intestines.
Some common symptoms of cancer that develops in the small intestines include:
Inherited condition: Although most small intestine cancers occur without a known hereditary link, there are some inherited conditions that may lead to a higher risk. The inherited conditions associated specifically with small intestine adenocarcinoma are:
Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP)
Hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC), also called Lynch syndrome
Peutz-Jeghers syndrome (PJS)
Cystic fibrosis (CF)
People with either multiple endocrine neoplasia, type I (MEN1) or defects in the gene NF1 (type 1 neurofibromatosis) may develop benign tumors in the small intestine that are at risk of becoming malignant carcinoid tumors.
Gardner syndrome: Caused by a genetic defect. People with this syndrome often develop many polyps throughout the GI tract, particularly in the colon. Although there is a greater risk for developing colon cancer, this disease is considered a risk factor for sarcomas of the small intestine.
Von Recklinghausen's disease: Neurofibromatosis, an inherited gene mutation, may lead to GISTs. However, there usually is no known cause for GISTs of the small intestine and hereditary links are rare.
Tobacco and alcohol use: Lots of evidence links cigarette smoking and alcohol abuse to many types cancer. Some research suggests that smoking and drinking may also be associated with small intestine cancer.
Diet: Eating a high-fat diet may be a small intestine risk factor.
Chemical exposure: Certain chemicals, like vinyl chloride, dioxins and high doses of herbicides containing phenoxyacetic acid, are considered intestinal cancer risk factors for certain types of sarcomas, possibly including sarcomas in the small intestine. NDMA in Zantac has also been linked to cancer.
Intestinal Cancer & Zantac
Brand-name Zantac products are commonly used in the United States and worldwide to treat issues such as heartburn, acid reflux, and ulcers.
Recent concerns have emerged about the safety of Zantac, however, in response to alarming test results out of the laboratory of online pharmacy, Valisure. These test results showed unsafe levels of a carcinogenic (cancerous) chemical known as NDMA in their tested Zantac products.
One of the types of cancer linked to overexposure to NDMA is intestinal cancer.
Many people who have taken Zantac regularly, or have lost a loved one to cancer after using Zantac products, are now suing Zantac drugmakers for failing to disclose the potential link between use of their products and various cancers.
How To Know If Zantac Caused Your Intestinal Cancer
Zantac is a brand name for the generic drug, ranitidine. Not all ranitidine products are necessarily believed to be contaminated with dangerous amounts of NDMA, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
If you are concerned about your risk for developing intestinal cancer after taking Zantac, or wish to know if Zantac caused your intestinal cancer, your best course of action is to talk to your doctor or cancer treatment team. Your doctor can evaluate your risk, or probable causes of your intestinal cancer through careful consideration of your medical history and Zantac use.
At this time, the FDA does not know how many people are likely to have been affected by the toxic amounts of NDMA in Zantac and ranitidine products. An investigation into the scope of the issue and the likelihood of developing cancer after taking Zantac is currently ongoing.
What To Do If You Think Zantac Caused Your Intestinal Cancer
If you were diagnosed with intestinal cancer after taking Zantac regularly for a health problem, you are not alone. Several class action and individual lawsuits have been filed across the U.S. by individuals and loved ones who received a cancer diagnosis after taking Zantac or ranitidine products.
The basis for these lawsuits is generally one of negligence. Negligence is a legal theory in personal injury law that traces personal injury or wrongful death to the negligent behavior of an individual or entity—such as a business or pharmaceutical company.
In the context of recent Zantac lawsuits, the negligence of named defendants (Zantac drugmakers) refers to their failure to properly warn the government, healthcare providers, and the public of the amount of NDMA in their drugs, violating U.S. consumer protection laws.
The types of Zantac cancer lawsuits that have been filed include:
product liability (defective drug) lawsuits
personal injury lawsuits
wrongful death lawsuits
Several plaintiffs who have taken legal action against Zantac drugmakers have not been diagnosed with cancer, but are nonetheless seeking compensation for the amount of money spent on Zantac through their regular use of the drugs.
If you’ve been diagnosed with intestinal cancer after taking Zantac and experienced significant financial or emotional distress, an attorney will likely recommend filing an individual lawsuit to seek fair compensation for your losses.
You can determine your eligibility for filing an individual lawsuit by speaking to an experienced dangerous drug attorney.