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Gastroenterology Center at Southwestern
If you have a gastrointestinal (GI) cancer or another cancer that has spread to the GI tract, CTCA at Southwestern Regional Medical Center (Southwestern) offers advanced technology and expertise.
Our Gastroenterology Center specializes in different and minimally invasive treatments to eradicate tumors and minimize symptoms, so you can get through treatment with fewer interruptions and maintain your quality of life.
GI Cancers We Treat
The Gastroenterology Center at Southwestern provides innovative treatment options for the following cancers:
Experienced GI Team
At Southwestern, you’ll work with an integrated team of physicians who have expertise in performing cancer-related procedures in the GI tract. Your care team will likely include: a gastroenterologist, radiologist, surgical, medical and radiation oncologists, dietitian, naturopathic clinician, and other cancer experts across a variety of disciplines.
The gastroenterology team works together to understand your individual needs and provide advanced, fully-integrated treatments. The team meets regularly to discuss your progress and modify your treatment accordingly.
When you arrive at Southwestern, your care team will review your symptoms with you and obtain a health history. Then, we’ll use state-of-the-art diagnostic tools and interventional procedures to evaluate the tumor(s), such as:
- Endoscopic procedures
- Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD)
- Small bowel enteroscopy
We usually get diagnostic test results back within 1-2 days. Using the results, we’ll work with you to find treatments that are suited to your specific needs.
Southwestern’s Gastroenterology Center provides a full range of treatment options for GI cancers. The team uses some of the latest technologies to look at the gastrointestinal tract in different and minimally invasive ways.
We’re committed to finding options for each patient, including those with stage III or IV disease. We can apply innovative techniques and ablative treatments to help remove obstructions in the GI tract and relieve pain or breathing problems.
“The conventional thought is often if you can’t give a patient radiation, chemotherapy or surgery, you’re out of options. At our hospitals, we believe there’s always something you can do,” says gastroenterologist Dr. Leon Yoder.
For example, for pancreatic cancer patients, we can perform therapeutic Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS) to relieve pain, deliver intratumoral chemotherapy, or drain pancreatic pseudocysts (fluid build-up around the pancreas). We can also use EUS to place fiducial markers in pancreatic masses prior to radiation therapy for more precise targeting of tumors.
GI Treatments and Procedures
Southwestern’s GI Center provides the following treatments and procedures:
- Celiac plexus neurolysis (CPN)
- Dilation and/or stent placement to relieve obstructions
- Endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR) – for removal of early cancers
- Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD)
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy
- Esophageal variceal banding
- Fiducial marker placement
- Hemorrhoidal banding
- Total parenteral nutrition (TPN)
- Enteral nutrition
Helping You Manage Side Effects
Some common side effects of gastrointestinal cancer are pain, nausea, decreased appetite, fatigue, constipation and diarrhea. We recognize that these symptoms can delay or interrupt your treatment, and interfere with your ability to fight the disease.
Throughout your treatment, your care team will use multiple measures to help reduce symptoms. For example, we may prescribe anti-nausea medications prior to treatment to minimize nausea. We also work with your dietitian to support your dietary needs so you get the nourishment you need.
To reduce pain, we may prescribe medications or other methods. We can also use EUS to perform celiac plexus neurolysis (CPN), a procedure that blocks nerves in order to alleviate pain.
In addition to nutrition therapy and pain management, your CTCA care team provides other supportive therapies throughout your treatment, such as naturopathic medicine, oncology rehabilitation and mind-body medicine, to help keep you strong, reduce side effects, and improve your well-being.