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Cancer Treatment Centers of America



What is gastroenterology?

Gastroenterology is a medical specialty focusing on diseases of the digestive system. Gastroenterologists are trained to diagnose and treat a number of diseases, including cancers of the pancreas, liver, esophagus, stomach, colon, rectum and anus.

Experienced care team

The type of diagnostic test and treatment you receive will depend on your individual case. Our gastroenterologists can provide a range of tests and therapies to diagnose, stage and treat cancers of the digestive system, including:

Colonoscopy: During a colonoscopy, a gastroenterologist inserts into the rectum a long, flexible, lighted tube with a camera attached. The procedure is performed for three main reasons:

  • To find and remove polyps, which may be precursors to cancer
  • To detect signs of colorectal cancer
  • To evaluate symptoms such as abdominal pain and constipation
  • To perform a biopsy for further analysis

Endoscopic ultrasounds (EUS): An EUS is a common gastroenterological procedure used to diagnose and stage cancers of the pancreas, esophagus, stomach, colon, rectum and bile ducts. Similar to a colonoscopy, a lighted tube with a camera attached is inserted into the body, either through the mouth or rectum. Ultrasound waves produce images of the digestive tract and surrounding tissues and organs.

Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP): This procedure is used to view the bile ducts in the pancreas. Your doctor may use ERCP to remove samples for biopsy, relieve an obstruction of the bile duct or place a stent into a narrowed duct to keep it open.

Fiducial markers: Fiducial markers are placed inside a tumor before radiation therapy. Using these markers allows for more precise targeting of tumors and helps reduce harm to healthy tissue.

Jejunostomy tube (J-tube): This feeding tube is inserted through the abdomen and into the second part of the small intestine, known as the jejunum. Patients who receive a feeding tube may be having difficulty digesting food or may be inhaling food into their lungs.

Managing side effects

At CTCA®, we offer integrative oncology services designed to reduce the side effects of your treatment. Our gastroenterologists work closely with the dietitian on your care team to come up with a plan to manage the side effects of your treatment or the cancer itself.

Dr. Pankaj Vashi


Board certified in gastroenterology and internal medicine, Dr. Vashi serves as Chairman of the Department of Medicine at CTCA and as Medical Director of Gastroenterology/Nutrition & Metabolic Support at CTCA Chicago.

What is pancreatic cancer?

pancreatic infographic

Pancreatic cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Symptoms include loss of appetite, jaundice, abdominal pain, digestive problems and sudden weight loss.

A team of cancer experts

an expert team just for you

At CTCA, you will be cared for by a team of experienced oncologists and other cancer experts.