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Gastrointestinal Oncology Center
Loyola’s Gastrointestinal (GI) Oncology Center is unique in the Chicago area, offering patients and their families the benefit of meeting all the members of their health-care team in one visit. Treatment plans and options are formulated by the team and presented to the patient and the family during the same day. Our team of specialists uses this multidisciplinary approach for the diagnosis and treatment of patients with:
- Anal cancer
- Bile duct cancer
- Carcinoid tumor
- Colon and rectal cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Gallbladder cancer
- Intra-abdominal sarcomas
- Liver cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Small and large bowel cancer
- Stomach cancer
The GI Oncology Center is a key program of the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center and the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine Oncology Institute. Clinical research physicians and basic scientists work in close collaboration to develop innovative treatments for gastrointestinal cancer patients.
Our comprehensive services include evaluation by a multidisciplinary team of specialists and sub-specialists, a tailored treatment plan based on the latest surgical, chemotherapy and radiation treatment approaches and access to clinical trials and compassionate support throughout treatment.
Our team includes medical oncologists, surgeons, radiation oncologists, interventional radiologists, radiologists, pathologists and gastroenterologists as well as genetic counselors and nutritionists. In addition to your physician specialists who will care for you, nurses, social workers and chaplains, among many others, will partner with you to provide supportive care that treats your whole person – body, mind and spirit.
Examining Genetic Factors
During your visit to the Gastrointestinal Oncology Center, we will ask you about your family’s current and past medical conditions to determine if there is a genetic factor that should be studied. For example, only 2 percent of average-risk individuals will develop colorectal cancer in the U.S. But the chance of developing these cancers is higher for those with a family history of inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis) or colon cancer. The risk increases if more than one family member is affected with one of these conditions or were young when they were diagnosed. With genetic testing we can give a definitive answer about those who are at high risk for two types of colorectal cancer: Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP) and Hereditary Non-Polyposis Colorectal Cancer (HNPCC). It’s extremely important to identify whether this is a risk for you so that we can begin monitoring at an earlier age.
Since Loyola’s GI oncology team meets weekly, the open communication among members of the team about a patient’s medical needs continues throughout treatment. Additionally, a nurse coordinator works directly with patients to help them through each stage of treatment.
Our surgeons are trained in the latest procedures and will employ state-of-the-art technology during your operation. They want to see you return to good health.
Patients also can benefit from the services offered at the Coleman Foundation Image Renewal Center, located within the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center. The center provides complementary and supportive care including art therapy, massage therapy, biofeedback, pain management, acupuncture, nutritional counseling and access to psychotherapists and pastoral care.
Our genetic counselors will help guide patients and their families if a genetic factor is thought to have contributed to the growth of a cancer. Specific diseases that genetically predispose a patient toward colorectal cancer are Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP) and Hereditary Nonpolyposis Colorectal Cancer (HNPCC). With these conditions, the lifetime risks of getting colorectal cancer if the conditions are not treated are 100 percent and 80 percent, respectively. Therefore screening should begin at a young age. If a patient is concerned about whether these conditions run in their family, consultation with a specialist is advised.