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New Orleans, LA In a twist on a typical national medical annual meeting where hundreds of physicians gather to hear the latest information about a disease or medical condition, more than 400 patients and their caregivers will attend the 2009 National Neuroendocrine Tumor (NETS) Patient Conference in New Orleans September 25 - 26, 2009 at the Astor Crowne Plaza, 739 Canal Street, Grand Ballrooms. The conference, organized and hosted by the LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans/Ochnser Medical Center-Kenner Neuroendocrine Tumor (NETS) Program and the Carcinoid Cancer Awareness Network for patients, will gather the world’s experts on carcinoid and neuroendocrine tumors to present and discuss advances in diagnosing and treating these rare tumors. Support groups have adopted the zebra as their symbol because medical students have traditionally been taught to think horses when hearing hoofbeats, not zebras, and these diseases are zebras.

Neuroendocrine tumors are rare tumors that arise from the neuroendocrine cells that are present throughout the nervous and endocrine systems. Most of the time, they grow slowly and they are often difficult to diagnose. Some of the time these tumors may over-secrete hormones, peptides or amines that can cause symptoms. Patients may present with vague symptoms such as flushing, diarrhea, palpitations, cardiac disease or wheezing. Because of the difficulty in diagnosing these tumors, diagnosis is delayed on average of 10 years. Neuroendocrine tumors can originate anywhere in the body. Carcinoid tumors, however, are the most common detected and are usually found in the lungs or gastrointestinal tract.

Dr. Eugene Woltering, the James D. Rives Professor of Surgery and Neurosciences, Chief of Endocrine Surgery, and Head of Surgical Research at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans, will moderate the sessions on Friday as well as present and participate in Q & A sessions on both days. Other LSUHSC faculty participating are Dr. J. Philip Boudreaux, Professor of Surgery, Dr. Lowell Anthony, Professor of Medicine, Dr. Yi-Zarn Wang, Associate Professor of Surgery, Dr. Saju Joseph, Assistant Professor of Surgery, Dr. Richard Campeau, Professor of Radiology and Medicine, registered dietician and clinical specialist Leigh Anne Burns, RD, as well as LSU medical nuclear physicist Gregory Espenan, MS. 

Topics include what you need to do for accurate tissue diagnosis, why the US and European staging schemes are so different, does it make a difference in what lab you use, over the counter vitamin supplements and alternative therapies, why biomarkers are so important, the role of surgery, radioactive therapy and chemotherapy, how to prepare for your expert opinion appointment, nutritional support, sentinel lymph node biopsies, clinical trials, and what’s “hot.”

“The 2009 National Neuroendocrine Tumor (NETS) Patient Conference will be host to 30 internationally recognized experts in the field of NETS tumors,” notes Dr. Woltering. “This conference is designed to educate the patients and care givers who deal with these rare tumors on a daily basis.”


LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans educates Louisiana’s health care professionals. The state’s academic health leader, LSUHSC comprises a School of Medicine, the state’s only School of Dentistry, Louisiana’s only public School of Public Health, and Schools of Allied Health Professions, Nursing, and Graduate Studies. LSUHSC faculty take care of patients in public and private hospitals and clinics throughout the region. In the vanguard of biosciences research in a number of areas in a worldwide arena, the LSUHSC research enterprise generates jobs and enormous economic impact, LSUHSC faculty have made lifesaving discoveries and continue to work to prevent, advance treatment, or cure disease. To learn more, visit and

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