The NET Alliance™ and Novartis Oncology continue their commitment to improving knowledge and management of neuroendocrine tumors, and empowering patients to be more informed advocates.

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Where do neuroendocrine tumors start?

Explore the neuroendocrine system

The neuroendocrine system is made up of the nervous system and endocrine system. They work together to keep your body functioning regularly.

Click on different areas of the body to see the organs of the neuroendocrine system.

organ arrow
 
 
The nervous system
Your nervous system is made up of your brain, spinal cord, and nerve cells throughout your body. Your brain uses the nervous system to send messages to other parts of your body.
 
The endocrine system

Some of these messages are sent to the glands of your endocrine system. The endocrine system includes the pancreas, hypothalamus, thyroid and parathyroid, thymus, pituitary gland, adrenal glands, ovaries (female), and testes (male). These glands release hormones that send other messages throughout your body.

  • Hormones control different body functions, like growth and reproduction, digestion, air flow in your lungs, and how your body responds to stress or injury

The nervous system and endocrine system are made up of neuroendocrine cells.

  • Messages that reach your endocrine system tell your neuroendocrine cells when to release hormones

How do neuroendocrine cells become tumors?

Like all cells, neuroendocrine cells are always growing, dying, and being replaced by new cells.

Sometimes, neuroendocrine cells do not grow the way they are supposed to. This is when tumors may form. Tumors of the neuroendocrine system are called neuroendocrine tumors, also known as NET.