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Gastrointestinal Cancer

Physicians in the Center for Gastrointestinal Cancers at Smilow Cancer Hospital care for patients with cancers of the esophagus, stomach, liver, pancreas, colon, bile ducts, rectum, and anus. At Smilow Cancer Hospital, we partner with the nationally recognized Yale Cancer Center, which provides our patients with access to ground-breaking research and world-class physicians. 

Within our multidisciplinary Center, our physicians are dedicated to providing the most up-to-date and effective care to gastrointestinal cancer patients, advancing the nation’s understanding of cancer, and improving diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. Clinical trials are often available for patients who are newly diagnosed or who are not responding to their current treatment.

Our team

The Center for Gastrointestinal Cancers includes experts in diagnostic imaging, pathology, gastroenterology, surgical oncology, radiation oncology, medical oncology, genetic counseling, and supportive services. Members of the team meet regularly to discuss each case and to develop a unique, comprehensive treatment plan for each patient, in consultation with the patient's referring physician.

In addition to access to clinical trials, the Center for Gastrointestinal Cancers provides an expert approach to standard treatments and innovative new approaches and treatment options for the treatment of advanced and metastatic cancers and cutting-edge surgical techniques.

Treatments and Procedures

Interventional Endoscopy/Gastroenterology

Our gastroenterologists have highly specialized expertise in evaluating the pancreas and performing fine needle aspiration (FNA) biopsies of pancreatic tumors. A minimally invasive alternative to exploratory surgery, the combination of endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) and FNA offers our patients the most state-of-the-art method for pancreatic biopsies. The interventional endoscopy team also has expertise in the performance of ERCP, an endoscopic procedure that evaluates the pancreas and bile ducts and can alleviate jaundice with stenting of the bile duct.

Following a biopsy procedure, our pathologists provide skilled evaluation of tissue biopsies to determine a tumor's aggressiveness and to assist in the staging of the disease in conjunction with the findings of specialized CT scans and EUS. The optimal treatment plan for each patient is developed by a multidisciplinary tumor board, which includes medical, surgical, and radiation oncologists, pathologists, gastroenterologists and geneticists.

Surgical Oncology

Various surgical techniques are considered for each patient before determining the best option; this varies based on the location of the tumor, stage of the disease, and the patient's overall health. Our surgeons have extensive experience in performing surgery for gastrointestinal cancers. Current operative techniques and careful attention to the postoperative management in and outside of the hospital optimizes the opportunity for our patients' complete recovery.

Medical Oncology

Chemotherapy is often recommended following surgical removal of a tumor to prevent the disease from returning or to delay its return. Chemotherapy is also prescribed to treat patients with advanced or metastatic disease. Our medical oncology team provides experience and knowledge of innovative treatment options and investigational therapies for gastrointestinal cancers.

Yale Cancer Center is a major national research center for the development of novel therapies for late stage pancreatic cancer and provides our patients with access to the newest therapies available through clinical trials. Our medical oncologists are also searching for novel combinations of chemotherapies and targeted therapies to further improve the treatment outcomes for pancreatic cancer. Our goal is to help patients live the longest possible time with the best quality of life.

Radiation Oncology

Radiation therapy is often used to treat patients who are not eligible for surgery or to shrink the tumor prior to surgery in combination with chemotherapy. Patients who are cared for through the Gastrointestinal Cancers Program at Smilow Cancer Hospital and need radiation oncology as a component of their prescribed treatment can feel confident that they are receiving the highest quality care from the most experienced team of radiation oncologists in Connecticut.

Additional Services

Cancer Genetic Counseling

Smilow Cancer Hospital provides genetic counseling and testing to those who are at increased risk for hereditary cancer and helps them to make informed medical decisions based on their own personal risk assessment. A percentage of certain cancers have a hereditary component that can be passed from one generation to the next, so it is important to know your family history and risk factors.

Cancer Screenings

The goal of cancer screening tests is to find cancer as early as possible and before symptoms begin. Some, but not all, cancer screening tests detect potential problems and allow the doctor to remove the suspicious tissue at the same time. This is important as it means that you are less likely to develop cancer later in your life. We offer a variety of screening tests.

Healing Garden

Smilow Cancer Hospital and our many Care Centers throughout the state, offer a tranquil healing garden for patients to enjoy. The sights and sounds of our garden can reduce anxiety and stress and have a restorative effect on the physical and mental health of our patients.

Make an Appointment

Contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment with a member of the Center for Gastrointestinal Cancers. When you call, a patient intake coordinator will help arrange your appointments so that you will see all of the specialists needed during your initial visit. Patient intake coordinators will provide you with assistance during your diagnosis, treatment, and recovery.