Gastrointestinal cancer refers to a group of diseases that can occur in any organs of the digestive tract. These cancers include:
- Pancreatic cancer
- Stomach cancer
- Liver cancer
- Colorectal cancer (a)nal, colon, and rectal
- Small intestine cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Gallbladder cancer
Dignity Health – Cancer Institute at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center offers cancer patients access to clinical trials for innovative treatments and therapies for all types of gastrointestinal cancer in Arizona. To learn more about our oncology services, Find a Doctor at Dignity Health today.
Gastrointestinal Cancers Symptoms
The symptoms of gastrointestinal cancers depend on the exact type, location, and extent of the disease. Many of these cancers do not have early symptoms.
Because these tumors are almost impossible to feel as they develop, most people are diagnosed after the cancer has advanced and begins to cause symptoms, including:
- Cramping or pain in the abdomen
- Changes in bowel habits, such as bloody or very dark stool, constipation, diarrhea, or narrowing of the stool
- Problems with digestion
- Nausea and vomiting
- Difficulty swallowing
- Jaundice, a yellowing of the eyes and skin
- Swelling in the abdomen
- Weakness, tiredness, or loss of appetite or weight
If you or a loved one is experiencing one or more of these symptoms, speak with an experienced doctor at Dignity Health to receive a proper diagnosis.
Gastrointestinal Cancers Causes
While researchers don’t yet know what causes gastrointestinal cancer, they do understand certain risk factors are associated with these diseases.
Many of these risk factors can be controlled by lifestyle changes, including:
- Not smoking
- Eating a healthy diet
- Reducing the amount of alcohol you drink
Family history may also play a role in the development of gastrointestinal cancers.
Gastrointestinal Cancer Treatment at Dignity Health
Oncology departments at Dignity Health work together to provide personalized treatment for gastrointestinal cancer patients. Depending on the location and extent of the cancer, our oncologists may recommend these treatments:
- Chemotherapy to kill or stop cancer cells from growing
- Radiation therapy to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors
- Targeted therapy, which uses markers present only on cancer cells to find and destroy them
- Surgery, a common treatment for many cancers of the gastrointestinal tract
Talk to your doctor about ways to screen for gastrointestinal cancer. One of the most common screening methods is colonoscopy. Your doctor can explain when you should begin screening tests and how you can lower your risk of GI cancer with healthy lifestyle changes.
Dignity Health offers comprehensive diagnosis, treatment, and management for all forms of gastrointestinal cancer in Arizona.