Screening and Diagnosis
Gastrointestinal (GI) cancers can occur anywhere along the digestive tract including:
- Small intestines
Since symptoms may not appear – or be obvious – for some time, it's important to discuss unusual symptoms with your doctor and take part in routine screenings.
If you or a loved one are diagnosed with a GI cancer, our team of doctors and other healthcare professionals are here, every step of the way.
Gastrointestinal Cancers We Treat
At Cancer Centers of Colorado, our specialists are skilled in treating all types of gastrointestinal cancers, including:
- Anal Cancer - Anal cancer is a fairly uncommon form of cancer which happens when cancer cells form in the tissues located at the end of the large intestine. When found early, anal cancer is highly treatable.
- Esophageal Cancer - Esophageal cancer occurs in the esophagus, the tube that carries food and liquids from the throat to the stomach. Esophogeal cancer generally begins in the cells that line the inside of the esophagus, and can occur anywhere along the esophagus.
- Colorectal Cancer - Colorectal cancer includes both colon cancer and rectal cancer. It is one of the most common – and treatable – forms of cancer, especially when caught early. In fact, thanks to improvements in prevention, early detection and treatment, over a million people in the U.S. are survivors of colorectal cancer.
- Liver Cancer - Liver cancer happens when normal cells in the liver change into abnormal cells and grow out of control. The large size of the liver and the amount of blood that flows through the organ makes it a prime target for tumor cells. Since all the blood in the body must pass through it, the liver is unusually accessible to cancer cells traveling in the bloodstream. This means that liver cancer is one of the most common metastatic (spreading) cancers.
- Pancreatic Cancer - Pancreatic cancer occurs when abnormal cells are found within the tissue of the pancreas and these cells begin to grow out of control, typically resulting in a tumor. These tumors can then attack nearby tissues and spread to other parts of the body. Even when the cancer spreads to other areas of the body, it is still called pancreatic cancer if that is where it started.
- Stomach Cancer - Stomach cancer, or gastric cancer, starts in the lining of the stomach and grows slowly over the course of several years. This form of cancer causes few, if any, symptoms. Although stomach cancer can develop anywhere in the organ, most stomach cancers develop in the cells of the mucosa. Once stomach cancer grows beyond the stomach wall, it can spread through the bloodstream or reach the lymphatic system.
Treatment Options Personalized to You
As our understanding of cancer has grown, treatments have becomes increasingly individualized and targeted. Your treatment will depend on your stage and type of cancer, along with many other factors unique to you.
Our team of surgical oncologists, medical oncologists and radiation oncologists use a multidisciplinary approach and participate in a Tumor Board to collaborate on the best treatment plan for each patient.
Your treatment plan may include one or a combination of these approaches:
Cancer Surgery including robotic surgery
Clinical Trials and Research
A clinical trial is the final stage of a long and careful process required to bring new drugs or treatments to patients everywhere. These studies help find safe and effective approaches to disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment. Learn more about clinical trials.
About 1 in 5 stomach cancers has too much of a growth-promoting protein called HER2 on the surface of cancer cells. Too much HER2 on cancer cells, make this type of cancer grow faster and is known as HER2+ Gastric Cancer. Cancer Centers of Colorado has collaborated with Seattle Genetics on the HER2 Positive clinical trial for Gastric Cancer.
Care and Support
When you first hear you have cancer, you’ll have many questions. You may be unsure of the next steps, have worries about insurance and financial issues or feel alone in your situation.
Our team is built around you, starting with your own patient navigator who will guide you through this entire journey. Expect us to care for you as a person while treating you for cancer. Our experts – including board-certified doctors and nurses with advanced training, skilled therapists and healthcare professionals – work together to meet your unique needs.
A patient navigator supports you, and often your family, as you learn more about the disease and how to navigate the journey ahead. Patient navigators may coordinate appointments between health care providers, answer questions and help link you to financial assistance if needed.
As an non-profit healthcare organization, we are devoted to providing spiritual care and support to all we serve. We believe this support encourages hope and fosters both strength and healing. Our spiritual care team is happy to visit with you, offer prayers with you or on your behalf and provide other services as needed.