The digestive system involves multiple organs that can be affected by cancer. The term gastrointestinal cancer, also known as GI cancer, broadly encompasses cancers of the colon, esophagus and pancreas, to name a few areas susceptible to developing malignant disease. More cancers develop in the digestive tract than any other part of the body, making prevention, early detection and effective treatments all that more important in achieving good outcomes for our patients.
Our experienced gastroenterologists and advanced therapeutic endoscopists work closely with the Kellogg Cancer Center to provide multidisciplinary care for a wide range of GI cancers. We join cancer surgeons, gastrointestinal oncologists, interventional radiologists, radiation oncologists and other cancer experts in providing collaborative care and developing a personalized treatment plan for patients with GI cancer. Just as every cancer is different, every patient deserves a personalized approach.
Advancements in genetic testing and counseling by knowledgeable experts continue to provide customized care as well as risk assessment for all types of cancer, including GI cancers. Simple blood tests now yield important information critical for treatment and surveillance planning for patients diagnosed with cancer and for early screening of individuals concerned about a family history of cancer. Ranked the third most common cancer diagnosed in the United States, colon cancer can run in families.
Our GI specialists take advantage of the depth and breadth of NorthShore’s exceptional genetic medicine expertise. All patients diagnosed with colon cancer at NorthShore undergo tumor testing for Lynch syndrome, the most common hereditary cause of the disease, so that we may fully optimize their GI cancer care. We frequently refer those individuals with a suspicious or strong family history of colon cancer to our genetic medicine experts to determine if they may have hereditary risk factors. Additionally, our investigators are involved in research initiatives focused on early diagnosis and prevention of colon, esophageal and pancreatic cancers. Our dedication to advancing GI care allows us to offer our patients access to promising therapies through clinical trials.