What are gastrointestinal cancers?

Gastrointestinal cancer includes any cancer of the organs that are part of the digestive tract, or associated organs. The most common is colon cancer, but this classification also includes anal, bile duct, esophageal (ee-SAH-fuh-JEE-ul), gallbladder, liver, pancreatic (PAN-kre-A-tik), rectal, small intestine, and stomach cancers.

There are a variety of causes and symptoms associated with these cancers, depending on the type and location, but they are all more common in older individuals and people who are exposed to carcinogens (kar-SIH-noh-jins). Patients who smoke or abuse alcohol are at higher risk for gastrointestinal cancers. Pain is a common symptom in most of these cancers, as well as changes in stool and difficulty eating or digesting.

Colon cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in women and men in the United States.

Our approach to gastrointestinal cancer treatment

Our doctors, surgeons, and other team members will work together to create a unique plan for you based on your particular diagnosis, health history, and personal needs. We understand that cancer care is not one-size-fits-all and our specialists will be with you every step of the way, using the most advanced therapies available to help you beat cancer with the least negative effect on your body.

As a part of the Northwell Health system, we have access to a network of research laboratories and hospitals performing cutting-edge cancer trials. For more information, please talk to your doctor.

Some of the treatments provided at the Cancer Institute for colon and gastrointestinal cancers include:

  • Minimally invasive surgery and robotic surgery
  • Chemotherapy, targeted therapies, and biologic therapies
  • Highly precise radiation therapy techniques
  • Leading diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, such as endoscopic ultrasound
  • Noninvasive virtual colonoscopy (for colon cancer detection)
  • Gastrointestinal genetics and genetic counseling
  • Comprehensive support services

We will make every effort to provide convenient and local treatment options. Our doctors take a collaborative approach and will always consult with the most qualified specialists both inside and outside of the Phelps system, including experts in pathology (puh-THAH-loh-jee), genomics (jeh-NOH-mix), hepatology, gastroenterology, and a number of other specialties.

Our team at Phelps is dedicated to ensuring you get the treatment you need in the comfort of a warm and caring environment. Your oncologist will explain all of your treatment options and create a plan for your specific needs and goals. You’ll work closely with a dedicated team of specialists in medical oncology, surgical oncology, and radiation oncology who will collaborate to ensure seamless coordination of your care.

team of doctors in a meeting

Call the Cancer Institute for more information.

commission on cancer logo

As a testament to our quality of care, we have been designated as a Community Cancer Program by the Commission on Cancer.

Learn more about the symptoms and risk factors of blood and lymph cancers.
Screening saves lives
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Colorectal Cancer Alliance recommend that adults begin screening for colon cancer at age 50, or earlier if they have a family history of cancer or polyps.
nurse helping patient in wheelchair
We’re here to support you on every step of your journey

We know that every patient’s cancer diagnosis and journey is unique. We offer a variety of coordinated support services right here at Phelps Hospital. Our support program includes oncology nurse navigators, oncology nutritionists, social workers, and others who are dedicated to coordinating your care and ensuring your needs are met. Our unique hospitality team will make sure you have a comfortable stay while you’re with us.

Explore the support program