Gastro-Intestinal (GI) cancer is a term used for the group of cancers that affect the digestive system of a human. It is a malignant condition of gastrointestinal tract (GI tract) and accessory organs of digestion. This includes cancers of the Oesophagus, Gallbladder & Biliary Tract, Liver, Pancreas, Stomach, Small Intestine, Bowel (large intestine or colon and rectum) and Anus.

Cancer occurs due to the uncontrollable and rapid growth of cells in a specific area of the body. These cells produce a lump which is known as Tumor. A cancerous tumor (malignant) can grow and spread to other parts of the body. Hence early detection and immediate treatment is necessary to avoid any severe health issues.

Gastrointestinal Cancer (GI) is one of the most common types of cancer and can affect both men and women. It is the complex disease as each patient’s cancer is different depending on individual’s body. GI cancer is curable if it is detected at an early stage. 

Treatment of GI cancer is depending on type, stage, development and other health factors.

Types of Gastrointestinal (GI) Cancer:

1) Oesophageal Cancer

2) Liver Cancer

3) Stomach Cancer

4) Gallbladder and Biliary Tract Cancer

5) Pancreatic Cancer

6) Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumour (GIST)

7) Neuroendocrine Tumours (NETs)

8) Colorectal Cancer

9) Small Bowel Cancer

10) Anal Cancer

Most common Gastrointestinal (GI) cancer types include:

1) Bowel Cancer:

Bowel Cancer is also known as Colon or Rectal Cancer. Bowel is the part of the digestive system and connects stomach to the anus. Generally Bowel Cancer starts in the large bowel. Bowel cancer develops due to the growth of cells inside the rectum or colon called as Polyps. A Colonoscopy test is performed for the detection and removal of Polyps.

Symptoms of Bowel cancer:

• Irregular/continuous change in bowel habits

• Change in shape or appearance of bowel movements

• Blood in stool or rectal bleeding

• Frequent gas pain or cramps

• Unexplained Anaemia

• Rectal/anal pain

Abdominal pain or swelling

Causes of Bowel Cancer: 

• Age

• Family History

• Diet

• Smoking

• Alcohol

• Obesity

• Inactivity

• Digestive Orders

• Genetic Conditions

Treatment of Bowel cancer:  Early detection is very helpful to cure Bowel cancer. 

Treatment options are:

• Surgery

• Chemotherapy

• Radiotherapy

• Biological treatments

2) Stomach Cancer:

Stomach Cancer is also known as Gastric Cancer and it occurs in the Stomach. Stomach cancer develops due to the growth of cancerous cells within the lining of the stomach.

Symptoms of Stomach Cancer:

• Unexplained weight loss

• Extreme stomach pain

• Heartburn

• Weakness or fatigue

• Nausea and vomiting

Causes of Stomach Cancer:

• Smoking

• Obesity

• Stomach ulcers

• Diet of too salty and processed foods

• Alcohol

• Genetic issues

• Exposure to asbestos, coal, timber and rubber industries

Treatment of Stomach cancer:

• Medication

• Surgery

• Radiation

• Chemotherapy

3) Liver Cancer:

Liver cancer starts in the liver. It consists of malignant hepatic tumors in or on the liver. Liver cancer has very low survival rate hence liver cancer should be detected at an early stage. The most common type of liver cancer is Hepatocellular Carcinoma.

Symptoms of Liver Cancer:

• Loss of weight

• Loss of appetite

• Upper abdominal pain

• Nausea and vomiting

• Weakness and fatigue

• Abdominal swelling

• Jaundice

Causes of Liver Cancer:

• Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C

• Cirrhosis

• Liver diseases such as hemochromatosis and Wilson's disease

• Diabetes

• Heavy Alcohol consumption

• Fatty liver diseases

•Exposure to Aflatoxins

Treatment of Liver Cancer:

• Surgery (Hepatectomy and Liver transportation)

• Ablative therapy

• Chemotherapy

• Radiation

4) Esophageal Cancer:

Esophagus is the food pipe which carries food from mouth to stomach. Esophageal cancer occurs due to the formation of malignant tumor in the lining of the Esophagus. Men are three times more likely than women to develop esophageal cancer.

Symptoms of Esophageal Cancer:

• Swallowing trouble

• Chest pain

• Weight loss

• Chronic cough

• Vomiting

• Hoarseness

• Hiccups

Causes of Esophageal Cancer:

• Smoking

• Alcohol

• GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease)

• Obesity

• Achalasia

Treatment of Esophageal Cancer:

• Surgery

• Endoscopic therapy

• Radiation therapy

• Chemotherapy

5) Pancreatic Cancer:

Pancreas produces insulin and enzymes. Pancreatic Cancer starts in the tissues of Pancreas and it spreads rapidly to the nearby organs. Pancreatic cancer is often detected late. 

Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer:

• Jaundice

• Severe Abdominal pain

• Back pain

• Bloating

• Nausea and vomiting

Causes of Pancreatic Cancer:

• Genetic 

• Smoking

• Alcohol

• Diabetes

• Obesity

• Pancreatic cysts or chronic pancreatitis

• Unhealthy diet

Treatment of Pancreatic Cancer:



•Radiation therapy

•Supportive (palliative) care