Gastro-intestinal cancer

This generic term refers to cancer at any point in the gastrointestinal tract (i.e. between the oesophagus and the anus).

The most common sites are the colon (affecting 1 in 15 UK males and 1 in 18 UK females in their lifetime), the pancreas (affecting 1 in 53 UK males and 1 in 57 UK females in their lifetime) and the oesophagus (affecting 1 in 50 UK males and 1 in 96 UK females), all of which are covered separately.

Symptoms arising as a result of underlying cancers will vary according to the site and extent of the disease and may or may not include weight loss and reduced appetite.

Diagnosis is usually by means of some form of scan and/or endoscopy, either of which may include obtaining a sample of tissue to confirm the diagnosis.

After the information from these tests has been reviewed, your doctor will then discuss the best treatment options with you, which may include surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

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