MedStar Georgetown Cancer Institute | 888-666-3432

Gastrointestinal Cancer

Gastrointestinal (GI) cancer includes cancer of the GI tract, which include those organs that digest and draw nutrients from food.

  • Esophagus
  • Stomach
  • Small intestine
  • Large intestine

GI cancer can also occur in the following, gastrointenstial-related organs:

  • Rectum
  • Anal canal
  • Pancreas
  • Gallbladder
  • Bile duct
  • Liver

At MedStar Health, we understand how difficult a cancer diagnosis is, and we want you to know, our cancer teams are devoted to your care—from diagnosis to treatment to follow up care, our knowledgeable doctors and nurses will answer any questions you may have and will be with you every step of the way.

Top Gastrointestinal Cancer Care 

Our patients benefit from a multidisciplinary approach that devotes a team of specialists to their care:

  • Our highly-specialized surgical oncologists work with specialists renowned in the fields of radiation oncology and chemotherapy.
  • Each patient is evaluated by a team of experts in weekly multidisciplinary tumor board meetings to formulate the best plan of care.
  • Variety of Treatment Options: We offer the whole spectrum of surgical options, from minimally-invasive laparoscopic procedures to complex resections and reconstructions of the gastrointestinal tract. We regularly treat even the rarest forms of stomach cancer, such as GIST tumors, and lead the clinical trials that have revolutionized the treatment of this disease.
  • Experts in the Field: Our doctors are experts in intraperitoneal chemotherapy for peritoneal metastases from gastrointestinal cancers, allowing direct contact of cancer-fighting drugs into the abdomen.
    • Gastrointestinal cancers, such as appendix cancer, colon cancer, and gastric cancer, can spread to the peritoneum, which lines the abdominal cavity.
    • In the past, patients with this type of cancer spread had few or no treatment options. An innovative treatment option is now available at MedStar Health for patients with peritoneal metastases. Heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) lets your doctor target chemotherapy drugs directly at cancer cells, minimizing the risk of damaging healthy tissues.

Here is what you can expect from MedStar Health during the cancer process:

  • Diagnosis: Patients with gastrointestinal cancers may undergo several tests to diagnose their cancer and/or determine its location and extent.
    • Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS): This procedure allows your doctor to examine your esophageal and stomach linings and the walls of your upper and lower gastrointestinal tract, using a thin probe that records high-quality ultrasound images. Your doctor will look for signs of cancer, determine if your cancer has spread, or biopsy a mass.
    • Laparoscopic surgery: Your doctor may need to perform exploratory surgery to find out if your cancer has spread. Laparoscopic surgery is a minimally invasive procedure that allows your doctor to insert a small camera and surgical instruments through several small abdominal incisions.
    • Imaging tests: Your doctor may order other imaging tests, including MRI, CT Scan, or PET .
  • Treatment: Once your health team confirms your diagnosis, we will work with you to create an individualized treatment plan. Treatment options differ from patient to patient, but most often include surgery and/or radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy.
  • Recovery: Proper follow-up care is the final crucial step in cancer treatment. After your treatment, your team of surgical oncologists will follow your recovery closely. We will meet with you and repeat imaging and diagnostic tests to make sure the cancer is not returning or spreading.

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