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Gastrointestinal Cancers

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Gastrointestinal cancer (also known as GI cancer) encompasses cases in which malignant cancerous cells form in the tissues of the digestive or gastrointestinal system.

Here’s a breakdown of GI cancer types:

Esophageal Cancer: The esophagus is a long tubular shaped organ that carries food from your throat to your stomach. Cancer cells develop in the esophagus’ inner layer, and then begin to spread over time. There are two types of esophageal cancers:

  • Squamous cell carcinoma – cancer developing from squamous cells along the entire esophagus.
  • Adenocarcinoma - cancer that develops from gland cells. To develop adenocarcinoma of the esophagus, squamous cells that usually line the esophagus are replaced by gland cells. This commonly occurs in the lower esophagus, near the stomach.

Stomach Cancer: Sometimes referred to as ‘gastric cancer,’ cancer of the stomach usually begins in the inner layer of the stomach, grows towards the outer layer and can spread throughout the whole body. Adenocarcinoma is the most common type of stomach cancer, diagnosed in over 90% of stomach cancer cases. It is common that patients with stomach cancer are diagnosed at later stages, making it increasingly harder to treat.

Pancreatic Cancer: The pancreas is an organ that sits in front of the spine above your belly button. It makes insulin, which regulates your blood sugar and also creates enzymes, which aid in breaking down proteins. Pancreatic cancer is incredibly aggressive, known to spread quickly. It has a survival rate of less than 5%. It is most often known as a metastatic cancer, which means it has the ability to spread to organs that many not be anywhere near the pancreas.

Small Intestine Cancer: Small Intestine Cancer (also known as small bowel cancer) is a rare type of cancer that develops in your small intestine. The small intestine is responsible for carrying digested food between your stomach and your large intestine. In most cases, small intestine cancer is successfully treated if it hasn’t spread. There are four types of small intestine cancer: adenocarcinoma, sarcoma, lymphoma and carcinoid tumors.

Rectal Cancer: Commonly known as colon cancer, this type of cancer develops from a rapid and uncontrollable cell growth of abnormal cells creating a tumor in the colon. In most cases, the condition is quiet and does not promote symptoms immediately, so rectal cancer is commonly discovered in its later stages. Rectal cancer is most often diagnosed in patients over the age of 50.

Bile Duct Cancer (Cholangiocarcinoma): Bile duct cancer is a malignant growth in one of the ducts that carries bile from the liver to the small intestine. The cells are not known to spread at a rapid pace. It is common though, that the cancer is in its advanced stages when found.

Liver Cancer: Cancer that begins in the liver. Though many other cancers are known to spread to the liver, the diagnosis of liver cancer can only be determined if the start is inside the liver itself. Your liver is the organ that constantly filters the blood that goes through your body to convert into nutrients.

Gallbladder Cancer: A noted uncommon form of cancer, gallbladder cancer is formed in the tissues of the gallbladder. It starts in the inner layer of the gallbladder and works its way to the outer most layers. This cancer can be treated if detected early, but in most cases, because symptoms are not obvious, it is not until its later stages that gallbladder cancer is detected.

Anal Cancer: Cancer that develops in the anus. Signs of anal cancer include rectal bleeding or a lump near the anus. Anal cancer is uncommon, but cases do exist. If treated early, the cancer can be removed, but later stages might involve more extensive therapy and surgery.

GI cancers vary from minimal to severe, so treatment options differ. As the case is with most cancers, the earlier a condition is diagnosed, the better the chance of it being successfully treated. Having a thorough cancer screening is the best way to figure out if any symptoms of gastrointestinal conditions are perhaps cancerous.

At West Medical, we are dedicated to performing a comprehensive cancer screening to help diagnose and determine the best treatment for each individual patient. We are focused on providing the most detailed and dedicated care, and we understand that medical matters are extremely personal. We’re here to help.

For a proper diagnosis and assessment of any the above mentioned conditions, West Medical is happy to help. Trust that our board certified group of physicians are ready to asses your case with the best medical procedures in mind. We're here for you before, during and after treatment. Call West Medical today at (855) 690-0565 to learn more about cancer screenings and gastrointestinal treatments. We look forward to hearing from you!

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