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gastroenterology

Gastroenterology

The Gastroenterology Department at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) provides minimally invasive treatments to treat precancerous conditions (such as Barrett's esophagus) and tumors, and to provide relief from cancer-related symptoms. Our goal is to help each patient maintain his or her quality of life and explore new treatment approaches.

Experienced GI team

At CTCA®, you’ll work with an integrated team of physicians who have expertise in performing cancer-related procedures in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Your care team may 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, personalized treatments. The team meets regularly to discuss your progress and modify your treatment accordingly.

When you arrive at our hospital, your care team will review your symptoms with you and obtain a health history. Then, we’ll use a variety of diagnostic tools and interventional procedures to evaluate the tumor(s). Using the results, we’ll work with you to identify treatments tailored to your specific needs.

Treatment advances

We’re committed to finding options for each patient, including those with stage III or IV disease. We may recommend innovative techniques and ablative treatments to help remove obstructions in the GI tract and relieve pain or breathing problems.

For example, for pancreatic cancer patients, we may perform therapeutic endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) to relieve pain, deliver intratumoral chemotherapy or drain pancreatic pseudocysts (fluid build-up around the pancreas). We may also use EUS to place fiducial markers in pancreatic masses prior to radiation therapy for more precise targeting of tumors.

What cancers does the gastroenterology team treat?

The gastroenterology team provides cancer treatments for cancers that affects the GI tract. This includes esophageal, gastric, pancreatic, liver and colorectal cancers. The team also treats cancers that have metastasized to the GI tract, such as lung or breast cancer.

Helping you manage side effects

Some common side effects of cancer treatment 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 manage 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 may 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 care team provides other supportive care services throughout your treatment, such as naturopathic support, oncology rehabilitation and mind-body therapies, to help keep you strong, reduce side effects and improve your well-being.