Digestive System Cancers
Our specialists focus on defeating your cancer.
Find comprehensive care for digestive system cancers close to home. The digestive cancer specialists at Novant Health Cancer Institute work quickly to diagnosis and provide an individualized treatment plan for you. Access exceptional care and compassionate support for a broad spectrum of gastrointestinal cancers, including stomach, gallbladder, bile duct, colon, rectal, liver, pancreatic and esophageal cancer. Our highly experienced team of experts are here to support you physically and emotionally throughout your journey.
Common Digestive and Gastrointestinal System Cancers
Colon and rectal cancer
The most common types of intestinal cancer are rectal and colon cancer. Also referred to as colorectal cancer, these cancers often begin as precancerous polyps in either the colon or rectum. When detected early, your polyps can be removed before they become cancerous.
Symptoms of colorectal cancer typically include:
- Diarrhea, constipation or change in bowel pattern or stool size
- Abdominal cramps, pain or bloating
- Blood in your stool
- Feelings of fatigue
Liver cancer, a hepatobiliary cancer, is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths in the U.S. Other hepatobiliary cancers include bile duct and gallbladder cancer. Bile duct cancer develops in the vessels connecting your liver and gallbladder to your small intestine. Gallbladder cancer develops in the organ that stores bile.
Typical symptoms of liver cancer include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Jaundice (yellowing) of the skin and whites of the eyes
- Swelling in the abdomen
- Weakness and fatigue
- Loss of appetite
- Unexplained weight loss
The most common type of pancreatic cancer is exocrine cancer, which affects the glands in your pancreas that produce digestive-assisting enzymes. Endocrine cancer is less common, affecting the cells that produce essential hormones like insulin and glucagon.
Watch for symptoms such as:
- Stomach pain that radiates to your back
- Light color stools and dark urine
- Loss of appetite
- Unexplained weight loss
- Blood clots
- Yellowing of the eyes and skin
Gastrointestinal Cancer Treatments
Why Choose Novant Health?
Nationally Recognized Care
As leading cancer care providers in North Carolina, Novant Health is recognized nationally for treatments and quality:
- Commission on Cancer (CoC)
- National Accreditation Program for Rectal Cancer Accreditation (NAPRC)
- Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI)
- National Cancer Institute (NCI) Community Oncology Research Program
- Southeast Clinical Oncology Research Consortium (SCOR)
- Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT) accredited for cellular and immunotherapies
Who treats digestive and gastrointestinal system cancers?
Medical oncologists treat cancer with drugs and chemicals or through chemotherapy, hormone therapy, immunotherapy and targeted drug therapy. They work closely with surgical oncologists and radiation oncologists to manage your treatment.
Colon and rectal surgeons
Colon and rectal surgeons have additional board-certification focused on colorectal surgeries. Our surgeons specialize in the latest techniques – including robotic and minimally invasive approaches – to remove colon, rectal and anal cancer. We also play a key part in both cancer prevention and surveillance.
The Novant Health team is recognized for its high-level quality through our National Association Program for Rectal Cancer (NAPRC) accreditation from the American College of Surgeons – the first in our region and one of the few in the nation.
The organs and glands of your digestive system are complex. Surgical oncologists, also known as interventional oncologists, specialize in minimally invasive procedures to remove cancer cells and nearby tissues and lymph nodes. Our surgeons are dedicated specialists who are experts in robotic and laparoscopic surgery.
Radiation oncologists are physicians with specialized training in the safe and effective use of ionizing radiation therapy to treat different types of cancers. Your radiation oncologist works closely with you and your care team to determine the best treatment approach for your unique diagnosis.
Radiation oncologists treat cancer using sophisticated equipment including Image Guided Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IG-IMRT) and Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy (SBRT) to destroy cancer cells and minimize symptoms.
You’re Entitled to a Second Opinion.
Are you concerned or confused about a cancer diagnosis or treatment recommendation you've received?
Another perspective on your case and options can give you some peace of mind. Reach out for a virtual session or in-person consultation.
Experience the Future of Cancer Care, Today.
Together, we can beat cancer. Clinical research studies drive breakthroughs in the prevention, detection and treatment of many cancer conditions.
If eligible to join a clinical trial, you could access new cancer treatments before they’re available to the general public. Explore clinical trials and speak with your cancer team to see if any are right for you.