Cancer Institute A national cancer institute
designated cancer center

Gastrointestinal and Colorectal Cancers

Gastrointestinal cancer includes cancers of the esophagusstomach, small bowel, pancreas, bile duct, and liver. Colorectal cancer includes cancers of the colon, rectum, and anal canal.

The Stanford Gastrointestinal Oncology program of the Stanford Cancer Center offers a treatment expertise and a multidisciplinary team approach for patients with all of these cancers.

Cancer Treatment at Stanford

The Cancer Center program offers focused expertise in radiology, interventional radiology, radiation oncology, medical oncology, pathology, and gastroenterology (including hepatology). As part of our team approach to care, our physicians participate in a multidisciplinary gastrointestinal-colorectal tumor board, and a multidisciplinary liver tumor board.

These tumor boards allows experts to provide a thorough and collaborative review of your records, radiographs, and pathology results. When we discuss your case, physicians with very specific expertise in your area of cancer are involved.

Unlike many other institutions that hold tumor boards, we welcome patients at our meetings, where we are able to discuss treatment options including standard and experimental or innovative therapies, and confirm your diagnosis and staging (which can be especially important if you have a rare type of tumor).

The Best Technology
At the Cancer Center, our physicians are some of the leaders in their fields and have access to the most advanced technologies available to provide for your care. Our programs and expertise can be outlined as follows:

Diagnostic Radiology

Radiation Oncology


Cancer Center surgeons provide skilled management of rare or complex cases where coordination of services and good communication among subspecialists is critical. This is especially important for newly diagnosed patients requiring involvement of surgeons as well as radiation and medical oncologists.

In addition, the Center offers the most advanced laparoscopic procedures, for example laparoscopic esophageal and colorectal surgery. These minimally invasive procedures cause patients less pain and provide faster recovery times.

Medical Oncology

Medical oncologists in the Gastrointestinal Oncology program have expertise in gastrointestinal malignancies. Our physicians are very active in developing the latest forms of chemotherapy and biological therapies.

For example, through Cancer Center clinical trials, patients were able to access the now-approved lung cancer pill called Iressa which has also showed promise in treating colon cancer.

Furthermore, our physicians continue to conduct clinical trials with innovative dendritic cell cancer vaccines, and with other promising therapies. We are dedicated to bringing promising research into clinical use as soon as it is deemed efficacious and safe.

Genetic Analysis and Counseling

Colorectal cancer and gastrointestinal cancer sometimes runs in families and is caused by genes. If multiple people in your family have been diagnosed with these cancers, you may want to be evaluated by genetic counselors associated with the Cancer Center who specialize in genetic mutations or syndromes (e.g., familial adenomatous polyposis syndrome, hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer) that can cause these cancers.

If one of these syndromes runs in your family, you can be carefully monitored so that if you develop cancer it can detected early when it is most treatable.

Contact Information

You can choose to come to the Stanford Cancer Center at any point in your care. 

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