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Gastrointestinal Cancer

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Gastrointestinal Cancer is cancer that originates in the digestive tract and its organs. It includes cancers of the esophagus, pancreas, intestine, liver, gallbladder, bile duct, colon, rectum, and anus.

It is a common type of cancer. It affects people of all genders at any age.

Types of Gastrointestinal Cancers

The most common types of gastrointestinal cancer are:

  • Gastric cancer develops in the stomach cells
  • Esophageal cancer in the cells of the esophagus
  • Liver cancer in which the cells of the liver start growing abnormally
  • Pancreatic cancer occurs in the cells and glands of the pancreas.

Symptoms of Gastrointestinal Cancers

The symptoms of GIT cancer vary depending upon the organ affected. The common signs and symptoms of gastrointestinal cancer are:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Indigestion and heartburn
  • Bleeding
  • Pain or discomfort in the abdomen
  • Fatigue or weakness 
  • Bloating

Causes of Gastrointestinal Cancers

Many factors increase the risk of gastrointestinal cancer, such as:

  • Smoking
  • Increased age 
  • Uncontrolled drinking 
  • Inactive lifestyle and obesity
  • Exposure to certain chemicals like herbicides
  • Exposure to radiation 
  • The high amount of salt intake 
  • A family history of gastrointestinal cancer
  • Certain infections like pylori infection, hepatitis A and B infections
  • Past surgery of one or more organs of the digestive tract 
  • Diagnosis of Gastrointestinal Cancers

    The common tests performed for the diagnosis of gastrointestinal cancer are:

    • Endoscopy: An instrument with a thin, flexible tube with a camera attached is used. It helps check the lining of the esophagus, pancreas, liver, stomach, and intestine for tumors.
    • Biopsy: A tissue sample is taken from the suspected area to be examined under the microscope to detect gastrointestinal cancer.
    • Imaging tests: It helps to detect the tumor, size, stage of cancer, the severity of cancer, and how much it has spread. A radiologist performs the different types of imaging tests for the diagnosis of gastrointestinal cancer, such as:
      • Computerized tomography assists oncologists in identifying the spread of the tumor to create an effective treatment plan.
      • Magnetic resonance imaging produces a detailed image of the inside of the GIT using a magnetic field.
      • Endoscopic ultrasound uses sound waves to assess tumor depth and adjacent lymph node involvement in gastrointestinal cancer.
      • Position emissions tomography scans play an important role in determining gastrointestinal cancer metastasis. 
    • Lab tests, blood tests, or urine tests: The increased levels of certain substances in the blood or urine may indicate gastrointestinal cancer.
    • Colonoscopy: A technician checks for polyps in the rectum or colon, which can become cancerous in the future.

    Treatment of Gastrointestinal Cancers

    HCG Manavata is one of the best gastrointestinal cancer treatment hospitals in Nashik. The common treatment methods used for the diagnosis of gastrointestinal cancer are:

    Surgery: The goal of gastrointestinal cancer surgery is to remove the cancerous cells as much as possible along with nearby healthy tissues. Surgery is the first treatment choice for early-stage cancer confined to a particular area.

    Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy for gastrointestinal cancer can be used to cure it, prevent it from spreading, shrink it, and relieve the signs and symptoms of cancer. It can be used alone or in combination with other treatments.

    Radiation therapy: It is useful for treating all types of gastrointestinal cancer. It is mainly used for advanced-stage cancer and cancer that cannot be treated using surgery. It can be given externally or internally by precisely focusing on the tumor. It is also used with surgery or chemotherapy to increase its efficacy in treating gastrointestinal cancer.

    Immunotherapy: Also known as biological therapy, it stimulates the immune system to locate gastrointestinal cancerous cells and kill them.  

    Targeted therapy: It is designed to treat gastrointestinal cancerous cells and minimize the damage to normal healthy cells. Targeted therapy targets the proteins or substances that help tumors grow, survive, and multiply. It can be given orally or intravenously.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    1. How to prevent gastrointestinal cancer?

    Getting screened regularly for early diagnosis is one of the most important ways to prevent gastrointestinal cancer. The risk is reduced by quitting smoking, limiting alcohol consumption, eating a balanced diet, and exercising regularly.

    2. What is the survival rate for gastrointestinal cancer?

    The survival rate depends on many factors, such as the type of gastrointestinal cancer you have, its location, the severity, and the stage of cancer. Early detection and timely treatment are extremely important for good survival rates.

    3. How can I manage the side effects of gastrointestinal cancer treatment?

    The doctor will prescribe you medications for nausea and vomiting. Exercise daily, eat a balanced diet, and get proper rest. Talking to your friends and family helps emotionally and motivates you.

    4. What kind of doctor handles gastrointestinal cancer?

    Gastrointestinal cancers are managed by a medical oncologist who works with a team of genetic counselors, radiation oncologists, surgical oncologists, gastroenterologists, pathologists, dieticians, and physiotherapists.

    5. What can I expect after the gastrointestinal cancer treatment?

    Your doctors will monitor your condition following the gastrointestinal tumor treatment. The doctor will check for the side effects after treatment and for cancerous cells left behind. You must visit the hospital for every follow-up. They may perform some tests during these visits.

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