Gastrointestinal Cancer Program

Colorectal Cancer

About the Gastrointestinal Cancer Program

Whether you live to eat, or eat to live, problems with your digestive system can affect your entire body. Gastrointestinal cancer includes all cancers that happen in the digestive system, including your:

  • Appendix
  • Esophagus
  • Liver
  • Pancreas
  • Small intestine
  • Stomach

At Main Line Health locations throughout the Philadelphia suburbs, our gastrointestinal specialists have experience treating all types of gastrointestinal cancer, from the most common to those that are rare and complex. We offer comprehensive diagnosis and treatment options customized to fit your specific cancer and your personal needs.

Gastrointestinal cancer screening options for early detection

With any type of cancer, early detection is critical to successful treatment. Main Line Health offers the latest screening and diagnostic techniques for gastrointestinal cancer, including:

  • Advanced imaging techniques – Imaging techniques, like CT scan and MRI, allow doctors to see pictures of the inside of the body and identify certain cancers.
  • Barium esophagram – In this test, you will drink a special liquid before doctors take an X-ray of your body.
  • Diagnostic laparoscopy – This minimally invasive surgical procedure allows doctors to view the inside of your body via a special camera, inserted through a small incision.
  • Endoscopy – During this test, a flexible tube with a light and a camera attached is inserted through your esophagus to view the inside of your digestive tract.
  • Endoscopic ultrasound with fine needle aspiration – This test takes a biopsy (tissue sample) to test for cancer.
  • High-definition endoscopy with narrow-band imaging – This type of endoscopy provides advanced, extremely detailed images for doctors


If you are diagnosed with gastrointestinal cancer, your treatment will depend on where your cancer is located and the stage of your cancer. Main Line Health offers the most advanced treatment options available for all types of gastrointestinal cancer, including minimally invasive techniques that have fewer side effects. We also use targeted radiation treatments that help preserve your healthy tissue while destroying cancer cells.

Your treatment may include surgery, chemotherapyradiation or other techniques, or a combination of multiple treatments. Whether you have esophageal cancerpancreatic cancerliver cancer or some other type of gastrointestinal cancer, we offer a wide range of treatments including:


Chemotherapy is used to fight almost every type of cancer and is part of the comprehensive treatment plan created by our oncologists.


Cryotherapy is used for removal of abnormal cells, such as basal cell carcinoma, and internally for cancerous and precancerous cells of the prostate and cervix.

Diagnostic Laparoscopy

Diagnostic laparoscopy is a minimally invasive procedure used to diagnose abdominal issues.

Endoscopic Mucosal Resection

Endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR) and endoscopic submucosal dissection (ESD) are related microsurgeries performed from inside the digestive tract.

Minimally Invasive and Robotic Esophagectomy

Main Line Health surgeons perform the latest esophageal cancer surgeries, including minimally invasive and robotic esophagectomies.

Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy (HIPEC)

Hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC), also called heated chemotherapy, may be an option for people with late-stage cancer of the appendix or colon , or in some cases, ovarian or uterine cancer that has spread.

Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy

Intensity-modulated radiation therapy, or IMRT, uses sophisticated imaging and software to identify the exact size, shape and location of a tumor and to deliver a precise dose of radiation that conforms to the tumor and leaves surrounding tissue intact.

Radiofrequency Ablation

Radiofrequency ablation uses heat energy to destroy abnormal cells. It may be used to treat various conditions such as cancerous tumors, cardiac arrhythmias, nerve pain and even sleep apnea caused by excess soft palate tissue.

Related specialties

Cancer Care

From diagnosis and throughout treatment, Main Line Health cancer specialists (oncologists) provide compassionate care for you and your loved ones through all stages of cancer treatment.


Main Line Health gastroenterology works to resolve digestive issues and GI conditions. Find the right solution for your digestive conditions at one of our Philadelphia locations.

Genetics and Risk Assessment

Genetic evaluation is becoming an important part of personalized care, as many health conditions have a genetic basis and genetic test results can help to guide medical decisions. Our genetic counselors provide consultations related to cancer genetics, cardiovascular genetics and prenatal genetics.

Cancer Survivorship Services

With advances in medicine, millions of people are living with cancer than ever before. For that reason, we established The Survivorship Program—a program designed to help patients transition to life following treatment, by alleviating some of their common concerns.

Hematology and Blood Disorders

Whether you are fighting cancer or managing a blood disorder, the hematologists and oncologists at Main Line Health offer the comprehensive care you need.