Einstein’s team of gastrointestinal surgeons, medical oncologists, pathologists, radiologists and nurse navigators are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of a wide variety of colorectal and gastrointestinal cancers, including:
Colorectal cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer, and is also one of the most treatable if detected early. Your doctor can even remove precancerous growths during a routine screening, preventing them from turning into cancer. With Einstein’s Direct Access Colonoscopy program, you can schedule your colonoscopy over the phone without a preliminary office visit.
Screenings are recommended starting at age 50, with repeat screenings every 10 years after that if you are given a clean bill of health. African Americans should start screenings at age 45, and those individuals who have a family history of colorectal cancer or other risk factors should talk to their doctor about when to undergo an initial screening.
Once your doctors have diagnosed your condition, they will meet to discuss your case and develop treatment recommendations, providing comprehensive, coordinated care. During your treatment, your doctors will continue to get regular updates on your progress, and they may recommend adjustments to your treatment depending on how the cancer is responding, and if there are any other concerns.
A common treatment for many types of cancer, radiation therapy targets cancer cells with beams of cancer-killing radiation. At Einstein, we use highly advanced technology to deliver extremely precise doses of radiation, including the Varian TrueBream® linear accelerator (LINAC), available at Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia, and the Varian Trilogy®, available in both Philadelphia and Montgomery.
By creating a 3D map of the cancer using a variety of advanced imaging systems, we are able to guide the radiation beam with an incredible degree of accuracy, minimizing damage to the healthy tissue surrounding the tumor. The most common form of radiation therapy is stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), or stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) when targeting tumors in the brain. However, other types of advanced radiation therapy are also available at Einstein:
Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) – This type of radiation therapy allows your doctor to adjust the radiation beam as the tumor moves during treatment, which is especially useful for tumors in areas such as the lung.
Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy – This type of radiation therapy uses multiple small beams of varying intensities that can change shape during the treatment, helping to deliver higher, more precise doses of radiation with fewer side effects.
RapidArc® Radiation Therapy – One of the fastest and most precise radiation treatments available is RapidArc®, which can deliver the same amount of radiation but up to eight times faster than other leading cancer treatments. It is often used to treat head and neck, prostate and lung cancers.
Many small tumors in the gastrointestinal tract can be removed without the need for a surgical incision. Depending on the location of the cancer, your doctor will insert an endoscope through your mouth, or a colonoscope through your anus, which can be used to locate and remove the cancer. This procedure is done under sedation, and in many cases does not require a hospital stay.
Depending on how much the cancer has spread, your doctor may recommend a surgical resection. These procedures, are often performed to treat more advanced cases of colorectal and sometimes stomach cancer. The cancerous area is removed, and the remaining healthy sections of the organ are reconnected.
In addition to surgery and radiation, a variety of other therapies may be recommended to kill cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, or prevent it from returning.
Chemotherapy drugs target and kill dividing cells, which makes them an effective treatment against cancer because cancer cells divide much more often than most normal types of cells.
Chemotherapy is often used in combination with other cancer treatments, such as radiation therapy or surgery, and can target cancer cells that may have been missed by other treatments or have spread to other areas of the body.
Your individual chemotherapy treatment plan will vary based on the type of cancer you have, where it is in your body, your overall health and other factors. A typical treatment plan may include four to eight rounds of chemotherapy, with several treatments per round, followed by a recovery period of two to four weeks. Most chemotherapy drugs are administered intravenously on an outpatient basis, but you may also have the option of taking tablets or capsules.
Hormone therapy or endocrine therapy, works by blocking the body’s ability to produce hormones, or changing how those hormones behave in the body. This type of therapy is often used to slow or stop the growth of certain types of cancer that are particularly hormone sensitive, which include breast and prostate cancer. Hormone therapy can also reduce or prevent cancer symptoms, help destroy cancer cells that have spread to other parts of the body, and reduce the chance that the cancer will return after it is treated. Hormone therapy can involve oral medications, injections or, in some cases, surgery to remove the organs that produce the hormones.
Through our clinical trials program, Einstein offers some of the most cutting-edge experimental cancer therapies available anywhere. Learn more about our clinical trials program,and talk to your doctor to see if you qualify for any ongoing trials.
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To learn more about your gastrointestinal cancer treatment options, or to get a second opinion, schedule a consultation with an Einstein specialist.
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