What Is Gastro-Intestinal Cancer? What Are It's Symptoms, Risk Factors, Prevention and Causes.

GI malignancies include tumors of the stomach, large and small intestines, pancreas, colon, liver, rectum, anus, and biliary system.

Our team of specialists is here to assist you if you are experiencing unusual GI symptoms or want to learn more about the disease. Throughout all phases of gastrointestinal cancer, Dignity Health will be there for you. To discover more about our services, find a doctor near you.


In the early stages of GI cancer, you may not have any symptoms. It's also practically impossible to feel gastrointestinal cancers as they grow.

As a result, gastrointestinal malignancies are frequently detected in screenings before the onset of symptoms. They're also diagnosed after they've progressed to the point where they're causing more serious symptoms.

Symptoms of GI cancer that have progressed to the point where they are causing symptoms include:

  • Cramps or pain in the abdomen

  • Stool that is either bloody or extremely dark

  • Changes in bowel habits such as diarrhea or constipation, as well as changes in stool consistency or constriction

  • Swallowing difficulties

  • Complications with digestion

  • Jaundice is a condition in which the skin becomes yellow (yellowing of the eyes and skin)

  • vomiting and nausea

  • Abdominal swollenness

  • Fatigue, weakness, weight loss, or a loss of appetite are all signs that something is wrong.


When the cells lining one or more of the organs in the digestive tract change and begin to grow, tumors form, and cancer can spread to the lymph nodes and other organs.

The reason for GI cancer is still unknown to health specialists. Infections, obesity, smoking, and some environmental risk factors can induce cell damage, which raises the likelihood of abnormalities occurring.


Gastrointestinal (GI) cancer affects the organs of your digestive tract. GI cancers include:

  • Anal cancer, colon cancer, and rectal cancer

  • Esophageal cancer

  • Gallbladder cancer

  • Liver cancer

  • Pancreatic cancer

  • Small intestine cancer

  • Stomach cancer (gastric cancer)

Risk Factors:

Each form of gastrointestinal cancer has unique risk factors. Many of them, however, could be influenced by lifestyle variables. Obesity, inactivity, smoking, a poor diet, and excessive alcohol consumption are all examples. You may be more prone to get the condition if you have a family history of it. Among the other dangers are:

  • Infection with Hepatitis A or B (liver cancer)

  • Infection with the stomach bacteria H. Pylori (stomach cancer)

  • Smoking

  • Alcoholism causes gastritis.

  • Obesity

  • Having been diagnosed with gastrointestinal cancer or another type of cancer in the past

  • Family history of GI cancer Previous surgery on one or more digestive organs

  • Polyps in the colon and stomach that had previously grown


The best strategy to avoid major GI cancer is to diagnose it early. Gastrointestinal cancer screening tests can detect colon and rectal cancer in its early stages when it is most curable. These tests frequently detect cancer before symptoms appear.

Although colonoscopy is a prominent cancer screening method, there are others. Discuss your alternatives with your doctor, as well as whether or not you should begin screening.

Because some gastrointestinal cancer risk factors are related to your general health and well-being, GI cancer prevention begins with a healthy lifestyle. A balanced diet, frequent physical activity, not smoking, and limiting your alcohol use can all assist to lower your risk of GI cancer.

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