Upper (GI) Gastrointestinal Cancer

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About Upper (GI) Gastrointestinal Cancer

Gastrointestinal cancer refers to malignant conditions of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and other organs involved in digestion, including the oesophagus, stomach, biliary system, pancreas, small intestine, large intestine, rectum and anus. The symptoms relate to the organ affected and can include obstruction, abnormal bleeding and other associated problems.

Gastrointestinal cancers include cancers of the anus, colon, bile duct, esophagus, liver, pancreas, peritoneal cavity, rectum, small intestine and stomach. In the United States, colorectal is the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths and is the third most common type of cancer in both men and women. As a group, gastrointestinal cancers are the most common cancers.

Gastrointestinal cancer (GI) occurs when certain cells within the gastrointestinal tract grow in an uncontrolled, abnormal, manner. (GI) cancers occur anywhere along the long twisting tube that includes the esophagus, stomach, small and large intestine (which includes the colon), rectum and anus. Along the GI or digestive tract are three organs—the liver, gallbladder and pancreas—that contribute to the digestive process that turns food into energy for the body.

The stomach is part of the digestive system and connects the esophagus to the small intestine. Once food enters the stomach the muscles in the stomach help to mix and mash the food using a motion called peristalsis. Stomach cancer can develop in any part of the stomach and can spread throughout the stomach and to other organs such as the small intestines, lymph nodes, liver, pancreas and colon.

Symptoms

  • • Pain or discomfort in the abdomen
  • • Nausea and vomiting
  • • Loss of appetite
  • • Fatigue or weakness
  • • Bleeding (vomiting blood or passing blood in stools)
  • • Weight loss