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Gastrointestinal cancer

Gastrointestinal (GI) cancers include cancers that affect the digestive system. GI cancers include cancers of the bowel (large intestine, colon and rectum), esophagus, gallbladder, liver, pancreas, stomach, small intestine, and anus. Colorectal cancer (cancer that starts in the colon or rectum) is one of the more common GI cancers, and is the third most common type of cancer in men and women in the United States.

Risk factors

Risk factors and prevention will vary by the type of GI cancer. Some risk factors for certain types of GI cancers may include: age, being overweight or obese, physical inactivity, heavy use of tobacco and alcohol, and certain types of diets (such as a diet high in red meat and low in fruits and vegetables) as well as family or personal history of cancer and certain other conditions (such as inflammatory bowel disease). A hereditary condition known as HNPCC, or Lynch Syndrome, accounts for 3-5% of colon and rectal cancers. People with this syndrome have an increased risk of up to 80% for developing colorectal cancer and increased risk of developing, stomach, small bowel, pancreatic, kidney, and bile duct cancers.


Because of early detection and screening, there are more than one million survivors of colon and rectal cancer in the United States. In order to diagnose colon, rectal, and other types of GI cancers, your doctor may perform one or more of the following tests: a physical examination, blood tests, a colonoscopy, biopsy, or imaging tests (CT scan, ultrasound, MRI, x-ray, or PET scan).

Learn more about our screening programs at White Plains Hospital including colorectal, pancreatic and genetic.

Learn more about our gastrointestinal surgery program.


Depending on your type and stage of cancer and other factors, treatment options may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or targeted therapy. Colorectal cancer, in particular, is often highly treatable. When found and treated early, the 5-year survival rate is about 90%. The earlier it’s found, the greater the likelihood of successful treatment.

At White Plains Hospital Center for Cancer Care, you will receive coordinated care and an individualized treatment plan. We have a team of experts, as well as supportive services, to help ensure you receive the best possible treatment and follow-up care.

Learn more about our gastrointestinal surgery program.