You are here

Gastrointestinal Oncology Services

Loyola’s multidisciplinary approach to treating gastrointestinal (GI) cancers is most evident in the team of specialists who will first consult on your care and then deliver treatment in a safe, caring and comfortable environment.Treatment plans and options will be formulated by the team and presented to you and your family during the same day. Whether your treatment includes surgery, chemotherapy or radiation, you'll benefit from the shared knowledge of all our medical experts coming together to develop your treatment program.Since Loyola's GI oncology team meets weekly, the open communication among members of the team about your medical needs continues throughout your treatment. Additionally, a nurse coordinator will work directly with you to help you through each stage of your treatment program.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is a combination of drugs designed to kill cancer cells. When needed, chemotherapy treatment may be administered at the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center on our Maywood campus or at our Loyola site in Homer Glen, offering you flexibility in obtaining the care you need.

Surgery

Should you require surgery, our surgical oncology specialists will provide the specialized surgery needed. Being surgical oncologists means that they have undergone extensive specialty training in procedures to remove solid tumors of the gastrointestinal tract. Our surgeons perform a large number of such surgeries on patients with complex cancers of the pancreas, esophagus, stomach, liver, colon and rectum.

Radiation Therapy

The quality of radiation therapy is dependent on many specialists: from the physicists and dosimetrists, who consult with the radiation oncologist to plan the radiation treatments and ensure the safety of the radiation doses, to the nurses and radiation therapists who see you daily to deliver the radiation treatments. All these health-care professionals openly and routinely communicate with one another about your care and your response to it. Three main types of radiation therapy are used to treat GI cancers. The choice of therapy is dependent on the type of cancer, the location of the tumor, the proximity of the tumor to other organs, and the size and shape of the tumor.

  • 3-D Conformal Radiation Therapy (3DCRT) is very targeted therapy that is focused on the cancer itself or on the regions that may contain cancer. It is used in an effort to prevent the cancer from recurring.
  • Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) is used for patients who have a tumor that is complex in shape and near other organs that cannot be treated.
  • Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) is a highly targeted therapy that is given in high doses during a short period of time.

Interventional Radiology

Interventional radiology – or interventional oncology – uses targeted radiation treatment to kill cancer cells without damaging other good cells around the cancer. Most interventional radiology treatments are administered to patients with liver tumors. Interventional radiology treatments may be administered on their own or done in combination with surgical procedures. The three key treatments that Loyola's interventional oncologists utilize are:

  • Radiofrequency ablation — high frequency radio waves to kill the cancerous tissue. A needle is directed into the tumor, where it delivers heat to a specific area.
  • Transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) — chemotherapy injected into a tumor through an artery. A catheter is inserted into the artery in your groin that supplies blood to the tumor in the liver. Drugs are administered and then the artery is closed off upon completion.
  • Radioembolization — the injection of radioactive material into the tumor. Beads of yttrium, the radioactive material, are injected into the tumor through a catheter to deliver a very high dose of radiation.

Access to Clinical Trials

New knowledge about treatments only can be obtained when patients participate in clinical research trials. If there is a clinical trial in which you may be eligible to participate, your doctor or the research nurse will explain it to you and give you more information. You then can determine if you want to participate.

Caring for Your Spirit

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. If you would like to make an appointment or need assistance to find an appropriate physician, please call us at (888) LUHS-888.