Published: Aug. 22, 2011
Updated: Aug. 22, 2011
Gastrointestinal cancer is classified according to the organ in which it forms.
Stomach cancer (also called gastric cancer) begins in the cells that line the inner layer of the stomach, then grows outward. There is a better chance of a cure when stomach cancer is found early, but stomach cancer is often diagnosed at an advanced stage, when it can be treated but rarely cured. Learn more about treatment for stomach cancer.
Pancreatic cancer forms in the pancreas, which is a gland that produces substances that help digest food and control blood sugar. Because pancreatic cancer produces few symptoms until it is advanced, it’s difficult to find it in the early stages. But if it is found before it has spread to other parts of the body, pancreatic cancer can be controlled well with surgery. Learn more about treatment for pancreatic cancer.
Liver cancer occurs when cancerous cells form in the liver. Having hepatitis B, hepatitis C, or cirrhosis of the liver increases the risk of liver cancer. The outlook for patients depends on the stage of cancer, how well the liver is working despite the cancer, and whether or not the patient has cirrhosis. Learn more about treatment for liver cancer.
Esophageal cancer is cancer that begins in the cells in the esophagus, which is the long tube that carries food from your throat to your stomach. Learn more about esophageal cancer.
Biliary cancer forms in any section of the bile duct, which connects the liver and the gall bladder to the small intestine. This type of cancer usually is not found until it is in a later stage and has spread outside the duct, but treatment can help relieve symptoms. Learn more about treatment for biliary cancer.
Small intestine cancer forms in the small intestine, which leads from the stomach to the large intestine. Small intestine cancer is rare. The outlook depends on whether the cancer can be completely removed by surgery and whether it has spread to other tissues or organs.
Colorectal cancer is the growth of cancerous cells that begins in the colon or rectum. Most cases are a type of cancer called adenocarcinoma, which is cancer that forms in the tissue that covers or lines an organ. Whether colorectal cancer can be cured depends on if it has spread outside the colon or rectum and whether it can be completely removed by surgery. Learn more about treatment for colorectal cancer.
Gastrointestinal stromal tumors can form anywhere in the digestive tract. For more about these tumors, see the sarcoma program.
Lymphomas are cancers of immune system cells. They rarely begin in the colon, rectum, or other parts of the digestive tract. Learn more about lymphomas.
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