GI cancers are complex diseases which can involve many parts of your gastrointestinal system. Our expert team of GI cancer doctors covers a broad range of specialty areas including medical, surgical and radiation oncologists, pathologists, and genetics researchers, among others. All specialize in the prevention, detection and treatment of GI cancer.
This focus enables our expert physicians to discover, develop and deliver the most targeted therapies for each individual gastrointestinal cancer patient. And that means our collective expertise leads to improved outcomes, faster responses, fewer side effects and more hope for cancer patients everywhere.
Your GI tract helps to digest food, takes nutrients from food such as vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats, proteins and water to be used by the body and helps pass waste material out of the body.
Your gastrointestinal tract has two parts, the upper GI and the lower GI. The upper portion of this system includes the esophagus, stomach and small intestine. The lower portion of the GI tract includes the colon and the rectum, also called the colorectal area.
Other sites of gastrointestinal cancer include:
- Bile duct
- Anal canal
It’s important to get regular colonoscopies starting at age 50 or earlier if you have a family history of colorectal cancer. Early detection of colorectal cancer leads to improved survival rates. Finding and diagnosing these cancers early also increases the likelihood that doctors can use minimally invasive procedures to treat your disease.
Symptoms of GI Cancer
The symptoms of gastrointestinal cancers vary, but can include any of the following:
- Blood in your vomit or stool
- Severe stomach pain
- Painful swallowing
- Feeling full even after eating just a small amount
- Abdominal pain or mass
- Weight loss
Other conditions can cause similar symptoms. If you have any of these symptoms, it’s important to see your doctor to determine a cause and treatment if needed.
Colorectal Cancer Risks
Individuals may be at high risk of colon or rectum cancer if the person has:
- a strong family history which means two or more close relatives on the same side of the family with a GI cancer, especially if cancer was diagnosed before the age of 50
- a close family member with one primary cancer with one being GI cancer at any age
- had pre-cancerous GI polyp before age 40
- had more than 10 pre-cancerous GI polyps at any age
Other risk factors include:
- A diet low in fruits and vegetables
- A diet high in red and processed meats
- Tobacco use
- Excessive drinking of alcohol
- Crohn’s disease (Inflammatory Bowel Disease)
- Celiac disease
- Prior colon cancer