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Little is known about the specific causes of small intestine cancer. Scientists have established that certain changes to the DNA of cells in the small intestine can lead to their excessive growth and buildup. However, medical experts have yet to discover the underlying triggers of these changes. Current theories suggest that the absence of a reparative enzyme can lead to the increase of DNA damage, and also that cellular mutations can occur over time as part of the natural aging process.

As researchers look further into the causes of small intestine cancer, there are certain health and lifestyle choices that individuals can make to help reduce their risk of receiving a small intestine cancer diagnosis. For instance, several factors are believed to influence the likelihood of developing small intestine cancer, including:

  • Eating habits – Consuming excessive amounts of foods that are smoked, cured or high in fat can raise the risk of cancer, while following a high-fiber diet can have the opposite effect.
  • Bowel inflammation – Because chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract is believed to heighten the risk of cancer, patients with conditions like Crohn’s disease and celiac disease should seek appropriate treatment to manage the effects.
  • Polyps – Left untreated, benign polyps can become cancerous, so it’s important to follow a physician’s recommendations regarding the frequency of colonoscopy and other screening tests, particularly if a patient is genetically predisposed to developing familial adenomatous polyposis.
  • Tobacco and alcohol use – Smoking and drinking are known to increase the risk of all forms of cancer, including small intestine cancer.

Moffitt Cancer Center is proud to lead the way in small intestine cancer research. Our scientists and clinicians are working continually to learn more about how the condition develops, and how to best treat it. In recognition of our progress, we’ve earned the distinction of being named a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute. Moffitt has helped thousands of patients fight cancer and lead better-quality lives.

If you're experiencing symptoms or would simply like to learn more about small intestine cancer causes, the experts at Moffitt can answer your questions and provide further information. Call 1-888-663-3488 or complete a new patient registration form online.