About GI Cancers

Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer is a disease in which the malignant cells are found in the tissues of the pancreas, the organ responsible for producing enzymes that break down fats and proteins as well as producing insulin for the body. Pancreatic tumors are generally classified into two types: endocrine and exocrine. Last year, an estimated 42,000 Americans were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

The UAB Comprehensive Cancer is recognized nationwide as a leader in the fields of pancreatic cancer treatment and research. Pancreatic cancer patients at the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center are seen in the center’s Multidisciplinary Gastrointestinal Oncology Clinic, located in The Kirklin Clinic of UAB Hospital. The clinic treats all types of GI cancers, including esophageal cancer, stomach cancer, liver cancer, pancreatic cancer, bile duct cancer, colon cancer and rectal cancer, as well as soft-tissue sarcomas and endocrine diseases (thyroid, parathyroid, pancreas and adrenal).

For more information about research, patient care, and clinical trials, please visit the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center.

 

Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer is cancer that starts in the colon or rectum. The colon and the rectum are parts of the large intestine, which is the lower part of the body’s digestive system. During digestion, food moves through the stomach and small intestine into the colon. The colon absorbs water and nutrients from the food and stores waste matter (stool). Stool moves from the colon into the rectum before it leaves the body.

Most colorectal cancers are adenocarcinomas (cancers that begin in cells that make and release mucus and other fluids). Colorectal cancer often begins as a growth called a polyp, which may form on the inner wall of the colon or rectum. Some polyps become cancer over time. Finding and removing polyps can prevent colorectal cancer.

For more information about research, patient care, and clinical trials, please visit the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center.

 

Stomach Cancer

Gastric (stomach) cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the lining of the stomach. The stomach is in the upper abdomen and helps digest food.
Almost all gastric cancers are adenocarcinomas (cancers that begin in cells that make and release mucus and other fluids). Other types of gastric cancer are gastrointestinal carcinoid tumors, gastrointestinal stromal tumors, and lymphomas.
Infection with bacteria called H. pylori is a common cause of gastric cancer.
 
Gastric cancer is often diagnosed at an advanced stage because there are no early signs or symptoms.
 
For more information about Stomach Cancer, please visit The National Cancer Institute
 

Liver Cancer

The liver has many important functions in the body. For example, it cleans toxins from the blood, makes bile that helps digest fat, makes substances that help blood clot, and makes, stores, and releases sugar for energy.

Primary liver cancer is cancer that starts in the liver. The most common type of primary liver cancer is hepatocellular carcinoma, which occurs in the tissue of the liver. When cancer starts in other parts of the body and spreads to the liver, it is called liver metastasis.
 
Liver cancer is rare in children and teenagers, but there are two types of liver cancer that can form in children. Hepatoblastoma occurs in younger children, and hepatocellular carcinoma occurs in older children and teenagers.
 
The bile ducts are tubes that carry bile between the liver and gallbladder and the intestine. Bile duct cancer is also called cholangiocarcinoma. When it begins in the bile ducts inside the liver, it is called intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma. When it begins in the bile ducts outside the liver, it is called extrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma. Extrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma is much more common than intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma. 
 
For more information about Liver Cancer, please visit The National Cancer Institute
 

Esophageal 

Esophageal cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the esophagus. The esophagus is a muscular tube that moves food and liquids from the throat to the stomach.

The most common types of esophageal cancer are squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma. Squamous cell carcinoma begins in flat cells lining the esophagus. Adenocarcinoma begins in cells that make and release mucus and other fluids.

Smoking and heavy alcohol use increase the risk of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma. Gastroesophageal reflux disease and Barrett esophagus may increase the risk of esophageal adenocarcinoma.

Esophageal cancer is often diagnosed at an advanced stage because there are no early signs or symptoms.

For more information about Esophageal Cancer, please visit The National Cancer Institute