Neoplasms of the GI Tract

What are Neoplasms?

Neoplasms or tumors are abnormal masses of tissue that result when cells divide more than they should or when they don’t die when they’re supposed to. Neoplasms can be benign or malignant (meaning cancerous).

What is GI Tract Cancer?

Gastrointestinal (GI) cancer is a term used to describe cancers that affect the GI tract and it’s organs, including the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, rectum, anus, liver, gallbladder, bile ducts, and pancreas.

What are some examples of Malignant Neoplasms of the GI Tract?

Malignant neoplasms of the GI Tract include:

  • Colorectal Cancers
  • Liver Cancer
  • Gallbladder Cancer
  • Bile Duct or Biliary Tract Cancers
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Stomach Cancer
  • Esophageal Cancer
  • Anal Cancer
  • Small Intestinal Cancer
  • Enteropathy Associated T-Cell Lymphoma
  • Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors (these tumors can be benign or malignant)
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors. Carcinoids are the most common type of neuroendocrine tumor. They’re made up of neuroendocrine cells or cells that resemble both hormone-producing endocrine cells and nerve cells. These tumors are most common in the appendix, small intestine, and rectum. They produce extra hormones that can cause flushing, redness or the sensation of being warm, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, unintentional weight loss, difficulty breathing, fast or irregular heart rate, and carcinoid syndrome.

What are some benign tumors of the GI Tract?

Adenomatous polyps are the most common benign tumors of the GI tract. These are benign growths involving the lining of your bowel. They can occur in several different locations in the GI tract but are most commonly found in the large intestine. Other locations for adenomatous polyps include the esophagus, stomach, small intestine colon, and rectum. 

What are the Symptoms of GI Tract Cancer?

Symptoms are related to the affected organ or organs and may include bowel obstruction, anemia, iron deficiency, bleeding problems, unintentional weight loss, fevers, chills, sweats, abdominal pain, gas, bloating, ascites (or fluid buildup in your abdomen), changes in your bowel habits, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and jaundice.

How are GI Tract Cancers Diagnosed?

Diagnosis often requires a combination of laboratory tests, imaging studies such as ultrasound, CT or MRI, endoscopic studies (like EGD, EUS, and colonoscopy) and biopsy of any suspicious tissue.

How are GI Tract Cancers Treated?

Treatment is dependent on the type of cancer and extent of the disease. 

 

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