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.

Gastrointestinal cancer treatment options

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, chemotherapy, radiation or other techniques, or a combination of multiple treatments. Whether you have esophageal cancer, pancreatic cancer, liver cancer or some other type of gastrointestinal cancer, we offer a wide range of treatments including:

  • Chemotherapy – In addition to traditional chemotherapy treatment, we offer long-term infusion chemotherapy treatments and regional perfusion chemotherapy.
  • Cryoablation – This procedure destroys cancerous tissue through an endoscopic catheter system.
  • Endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR) – During EMR, nodules and tissue can be removed for testing.
  • Endoscopic submucosal dissection – This technique removes pre-cancerous tissue without the need for more invasive procedures.
  • Esophagectomy – We offers trans hiatal and minimally invasive esophagectomy for patients with high-grade dysplasia (swallowing problems) or early cancer.
  • Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) and stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) – These advanced radiation techniques enable you to receive targeted therapy at the site of your cancer.
  • Interventional radiology – Our specialized interventional radiologists offer minimally invasive, non-surgical treatment including hepatobiliary intervention (used to evaluate the liver, gallbladder and bile ducts) for liver cancer.
  • Radiofrequency ablation – This procedure involves using heat to kill cancerous and precancerous cells lining the esophagus, often found with Barrett’s esophagus.
  • Surgery for liver cancer – Advanced surgical techniques include complex liver resection, hepatic resection, biliary bypass surgery and endoscopic stenting of the bile duct.
  • Surgery for pancreatic cancer – We offer advanced surgical options including Whipple procedure (pancreatoduodenectomy) (surgery to remove top of pancreas) and distal pancreatectomy (surgery to remove bottom half of pancreas).

To schedule an appointment with a specialist at Main Line Health, call 1.866.CALL.MLH (1.866.225.5654) or use our secure online appointment request form.