All About Gastrointestinal Cancer

Gastrointestinal cancer facts:

  • Gastrointestinal cancer is cancer of the organs of the digestive system – including the esophagus, gallbladder, liver, pancreas, stomach, small intestine, large intestine (colon) and rectum.
  • Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in men and women, with an estimated 105,000 colon cancer and 40,000 rectal cancer cases diagnosed in the United States in the past year.  Adding pancreatic cancer (32,000 cases), stomach cancer (22,000 cases), and other cancers of the digestive system, the estimated number of new gastrointestinal cancer cases totals more than 250,000 annually.

Like other parts of the body, the organs of the digestive system are made up of many types of cells. Cells divide in an orderly, controlled way to produce more cells when they are needed in the body. When cells divide in an abnormal, uncontrolled way, they can form a tumor that may be either benign or malignant.

Benign tumors are not cancerous. In the colon and rectum, a polyp is a benign tumor that may form. Because they can become cancerous, polyps should be removed.

Malignant tumors are cancerous. Cancer cells can spread to nearby healthy cells and destroy them. The cancerous cells can also invade other parts of the body. Cancerous cells in the digestive system can spread to the lymph glands that are located nearby. The cancer can also spread to other parts of the body.

Please use the following links to access comprehensive gastrointestinal cancer information provided by the National Cancer Institute from its PDQ® Database.

Learn more about anal cancer...

Learn more about extrahepatic bile duct cancer...

Learn more about gastrointesinal carcinoid tumors...

Learn more about colon cancer...

Learn more about esophageal cancer...

Learn more about gallbladder cancer...

Learn more about adult primary liver cancer...

Learn more about childhood liver cancer...

Learn more about pancreatic cancer...

Learn more about rectal cancer...

Learn more about small intestine cancer...

Learn more about stomach (gastric) cancer...

The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James) 300 W. 10th Ave. Columbus, OH 43210 Phone: 1-800-293-5066 | Email: jamesline@osumc.edu