Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Endoscopic procedures for intestinal cancer

Endoscopic procedures for intestinal cancer

The following are some minimally invasive procedures that allow gastroenterologists to see inside the digestive tract.

  • EGD: Known as an upper endoscopy, esophagogastroduodenoscopy or EGD, enables gastroenterologists to see inside the digestive tract to check for abnormalities such as tumors, ulcers, obstructions and inflammation. To undergo an EGD procedure, you first receive medication which makes you relaxed and sleepy. Your gastroenterologist then inserts a thin, lighted tube called an endoscope into your mouth. He or she passes the endoscope through your throat, down into your esophagus and stomach, as well as the first part of your small intestine (e.g., the duodenum). Your gastroenterologist can obtain biopsies of abnormal tissue through the endoscope. The tissue is then analyzed in a laboratory to determine if cancer is present.
  • Video capsule endoscopy: In this procedure, a pill-sized capsule containing a tiny camera allows your gastroenterologist to see approximately 20 feet of the small intestine that cannot be reached with an upper endoscopy or colonoscopy. Once it’s swallowed, the capsule travels through the digestive tract to take thousands of pictures. Using wireless technology, these pictures are transmitted to a small recording device worn on a belt. Your gastroenterologist then studies the pictures to identify potential tumors, as well as sources of bleeding or pain. This procedure is noninvasive and painless. The capsule takes about eight hours to pass through the system.
  • Double balloon enteroscopy: If a bleeding area or tumor is identified from a video capsule endoscopy, this endoscope with two tubes (one inside the other) can be passed through the stomach or colon to enable your gastroenterologist to see the entire small intestine. The first tube extends about a foot at a time. At the end of the tube is a small balloon which inflates and allows your gastroenterologist to inspect the small intestine. He or she can then retrieve biopsies of any abnormal tissue in the area.

What is an endoscopic procedure?

The gastroenterologists at CTCA use imaging guidance and innovative tools to perform minimally invasive endoscopic procedures and tests that aid in diagnosing intestinal cancer, as well as treating the disease. An endoscopic procedure refers to examining the inside of the body using an endoscope, an instrument that usually has a light attached, which is inserted directly into a body cavity or organ.