Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) at Southwestern Regional Medical Center (Southwestern) has a robust Gastroenterology Department dedicated to treating cancers of the digestive tract. The gastroenterologists at Southwestern understand the value of integrative care. These clinicians work not only with radiation, surgical and medical oncologists to help treat the cancer itself, but they also coordinate with nutrition therapists, pain management physicians, naturopathic providers and other supportive-care clinicians in delivering whole-patient care.
Gastroenterologists at CTCA® in Tulsa, Oklahoma, do not perform surgery. But they are responsible for helping to diagnose and stage cancers of the digestive system. This category of cancers can include cancers of the bile duct, colon, intestine, rectum, pancreas, esophagus, stomach or liver. Gastroenterologists interview patients about their medical histories and symptoms, and may perform colonoscopies and endoscopic ultrasounds (EUS). Both procedures enable gastroenterologists to obtain images through the use of a lighted tube attached to a camera. Colonoscopies can be helpful in determining the source of certain symptoms, in locating colorectal cancer indicators and in taking tissue samples for biopsies. While colonoscopies are used to diagnose colorectal cancer, endoscopic ultrasounds can help gastroenterologists stage and diagnose cancers of the pancreas, esophagus, stomach, colon, rectum and bile duct.
Dr. Leon Yoder, a Gastroenterologist and Director of the Gastroenterology Fellowship Program at Southwestern in Tulsa, performs more than 1,000 endoscopy and colonoscopy procedures each year. Dr. Yoder’s gastroenterology team also performs endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatographies (ERCP) to examine the bile duct. This procedure also enables gastroenterologists to obtain biopsy samples.