Gastrointestinal cancers encompass many different tumors that originate in the digestive tract, including the most common: colon cancer. If you develop gastrointestinal cancer, you need care from Mansoor Javeed, MD, FACP, and Christian Kim, MD, FACP, at Hematology and Oncology Associates of Northern California. Their medical oncology expertise and vast experience treating gastrointestinal cancers help guide optimal treatment decisions. To learn more, call the office in Folsom and Elk Grove, California, or book an appointment online today.
Gastrointestinal (GI) cancer refers to malignant tumors found anywhere in the digestive tract (except for the mouth and throat, which are head and neck cancers). This group also includes cancers of the organs associated with your GI system.
You can develop any of the following:
Gastrointestinal carcinoid and stromal tumors are different because they’re not limited to one area of the GI system. They originate in specific cells that can be found in any part of the GI tract.
Your symptoms depend on the type and location of your cancer. As a group, gastrointestinal cancers cause:
Unfortunately, gastrointestinal cancers often reach an advanced stage before causing symptoms. For this reason, you should never wait to schedule a checkup if your symptoms don’t improve.
The first step in treating gastrointestinal cancer is surgery to remove the tumor. In some cancers, especially colon and small intestinal cancers, removing the tumor often eliminates all the cancer and cures the disease.
Surgery for liver cancer may require an organ transplant, while surgery for pancreatic cancer is highly complex and often not possible because it often reaches an advanced stage before it’s discovered. Surgery that’s not curative is combined with radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy.
The medical oncologists at Hematology and Oncology Associates of Northern California specialize in chemotherapy, targeted drug therapy, and immunotherapy (biological therapy). However, the success of these treatments depends on the type of cancer and whether it has metastasized.
Some gastrointestinal tumors don’t respond well to chemotherapy, but you may still need chemo to eliminate lingering cancer cells and cancer that spreads beyond the gastrointestinal tract.
Targeted drug therapy relies on medications that block the cellular activities needed to support cancer growth. Immunotherapy also uses highly specialized medications that support the immune system’s ability to find and fight cancer. Both treatments are available for some, but not all, gastrointestinal cancers.
If you face gastrointestinal cancer, comprehensive care is available from Hematology and Oncology Associates of Northern California. Don’t wait to call the office or request an appointment online today.