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Gastrointestinal Cancer

Why choose Ochsner Health for your gastrointestinal cancer care?

Ochsner is the largest and most advanced resource for diagnosis and treatment of gastrointestinal cancer in Louisiana and Mississippi. Our multidisciplinary team of experienced cancer specialists are board-certified and fellowship-trained by highly respected medical centers.

At Ochsner, families affected by gastrointestinal cancer work with physicians who are engaged in clinical research and education. Our doctors’ dedication to research and education differentiates Ochsner as a leader that follows the highest standards in clinical care. Our gastrointestinal cancer specialists deliver results that outperform national averages by using the most recent technologies and a depth of knowledge to provide advanced therapies and treatments.

Ochsner offers fully integrated care for gastrointestinal cancers, delivering a seamless experience that considers your total well-being and quality of life. New patients can often see all necessary specialists on their first visit.

The gastrointestinal cancer team at Ochsner includes a network of highly skilled experts, including nurse navigators, dietitians, genetic counselors, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, surgical oncologists and advanced endoscopists who specialize in gastrointestinal cancer. For optimal results, we share the same space and collaborate regularly to monitor your progress and keep each other informed of developments that influence the nature of your treatments.

Ochsner offers effective cancer care to people who live in Louisiana and Mississippi. We provide gastrointestinal cancer care throughout the region, including New Orleans, St. Tammany Parish and Baton Rouge. Find a location near you.

Any cancer that forms along the digestive tract is categorized as a gastrointestinal cancer. These cancers include:

  • Esophageal cancer. Squamous cell carcinoma forms in the flat, thin cells that line the surface of the esophagus. It is most common in the upper and middle part of the esophagus. Adenocarcinoma begins in the mucus-secreting glands of the esophagus, usually in the lower portion.
    Ochsner is a leader in treating esophageal cancer, with better results for our patients than the national average. We perform laparoscopic-assisted, minimally invasive esophagectomies, open esophagectomies and endoscopic mucosal resections.
  • Stomach (gastric) cancer. Most stomach cancers are adenocarcinomas, cancers that start from cells in the stomach’s lining. Lymphoma is a rare stomach cancer of the immune system cells found in the stomach. Gastrointestinal stromal tumors start in the wall of the stomach. Carcinoid tumors begin in the hormone-making cells of the stomach.
    Ochsner gives patients a wide range of treatment options for stomach cancer.
  • Colon, rectal and anal cancer. Malignant tumors in the colon and rectum are categorized together as colorectal cancer, which typically starts with cellular changes that cause a polyp. Polyps are removed because they may eventually become cancerous. Anal cancer begins in the lining of the anus.
    The Ochsner Cancer Institute is a leader in preventing colon cancer and rectal cancer through screening, education, detection and treatment. If you are diagnosed with colorectal cancer early enough, your treatments may be straightforward. Cancers that grow or spread to other parts of the body may require multiple forms of therapy, such as surgery, medication and/or radiation treatments. Our multidisciplinary team of specialists has extensive experience with surgeries and innovative treatments for colorectal cancer. Most patients recover with little to no effect on quality of life. We also perform temporary and permanent procedures to preserve the body’s structure, to improve function or to promote healing after a surgery.
  • Pancreatic cancer. Cancers of the pancreas include adenocarcinoma, cystadenocarcinoma, neuroendocrine tumors (insulinoma, gastrinoma, glucagonoma) and intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm. Although pancreatic cancer is a challenging disease, many new therapies offer promising results for patients.
    Ochsner is the regional leader in pancreatic cancer treatments. Our specialists are well known for their experience with vital procedures such as Whipple resections, a complex surgery that removes the head of the pancreas to keep cancer from growing or spreading to other organs. In some cases, Ochsner surgeons may also remove and reconstruct blood vessels, procedures commonly referred to as vascular resection and reconstruction.
  • Liver cancer. Hepatocellular carcinoma is the most common cancer that develops directly from the cells of the liver. People affected by liver cancer are evaluated and treated by our multidisciplinary team of surgical oncologists, transplant surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, gastroenterologists and radiologists. The Liver Tumor Treatment Center at Ochsner has extensive expertise with liver resection, minimally invasive laparoscopic techniques and liver transplantation for hepatocellular carcinomas and other cancers that may spread to the liver. Our liver transplant program is the busiest in the region and one of the top five busiest in the United States. People who seek care at Ochsner have an opportunity to enroll in clinical trials designed to improve treatments for liver cancer. Talk to your doctor or visit our clinical trials page to learn more.
  • Other gastrointestinal cancers. We also treat bile duct and gallbladder cancers, as well as small intestine (small bowel) cancers and cancer of the appendix.

Your specialist may run noninvasive and/or minimally invasive tests to confirm or eliminate the presence of a gastrointestinal cancer if suspicious symptoms are noticed. Advanced diagnostic technologies at Ochsner deliver accurate diagnosis of gastrointestinal cancer so the most appropriate treatment plan can begin promptly, leading to faster recovery for patients. Here are a few of the possible diagnostic tests you may receive:

  • Computed tomography scan (CT or CAT scan).This series of detailed X-rays allows physicians to locate tumor sites within the body. Physicians can use this test to detect cancer and to observe the results of cancer treatment.
  • Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). This technique combines endoscopy (sound wave imaging) and fluoroscopy (a test that uses X-rays to show a live video of the body at work) to examine and treat the biliary or pancreatic ductal system. It reveals the behavior and function of organs such as the stomach and duodenum.
  • Endoscopic ultrasound. This imaging technique uses sound waves to create an image of the esophagus, stomach walls and nearby lymph nodes.
  • Fecal occult blood test. This test checks for hidden blood in the stool.
  • MRI. This noninvasive test uses powerful magnets to create two-dimensional views of an internal organ or structure.
  • Upper endoscopy. This procedure uses instruments inserted through an endoscope to collect a sample of tissue that can be analyzed for the presence of cancer cells. Physicians guide a lighted scope through the mouth and throat and examine the linings of the esophagus, stomach and small intestine.
  • Upper gastrointestinal series. This test uses X-rays of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum, allowing physicians to examine digestive organs.

Some types of gastrointestinal tumors and nearby tissue can be removed by surgeons at Ochsner without further treatment. In other cases, surgical removal is too difficult or could damage organs in the digestive tract. Depending on the type of cancer and treatment a patient has, it may be necessary to repair the stomach or esophagus after a surgery. If your cancer care involves surgery, it will be done by an experienced surgeon with a record of positive outcomes.

People who are diagnosed with gastrointestinal cancers may have treatment plans that also include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy or immunotherapy.

In rare cases, eligible patients may need a liver transplant. As a high-volume cancer center for certain surgeries, Ochsner is prepared to perform high-risk surgeries, including liver transplants.

Dealing with a cancer diagnosis and treatment brings on a set of challenges that can complicate life. Ochsner offers a network of resources to support patients and their families through cancer treatments and recovery. Here are a few of the many resources that provide comfort, education and assistance:

Housing Options

Brent House Hotel is a full-service hotel with guest rooms and suites adjacent to Ochsner Medical Center - New Orleans. Call 504-842-4140 or visit for more information.

Qualified patients and family members can get free lodging at the American Cancer Society Patrick F. Taylor Hope Lodge in New Orleans. This program helps patients cope with the cancer treatment process and provides a supportive environment for patients. Ochsner can help make housing arrangements, if needed. Call 504-219-2200 for more information.

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Map of Ochsner-affiliated facilities that provide services related to Gastrointestinal Cancer

Gastrointestinal Cancer Locations

Ochsner University Hospital & Clinics
2390 West Congress St.
Lafayette, LA 70506
  • Open 24/7
Ochsner Lafayette General Surgical Hospital
1000 West Pinhook Road
Lafayette, LA 70503
  • Open 24/7
Ochsner Acadia General Hospital
1305 Crowley Rayne Highway
Crowley, LA 70526
  • Open 24/7
St. Tammany Cancer Center - A Campus of Ochsner Medical Center
900 Ochsner Blvd.
Covington, LA 70433
  • Mon – Fri: 7 a.m.-6 p.m.
Ochsner Lafayette General Medical Center
1214 Coolidge St.
Lafayette, LA 70503
  • Open 24/7
Ochsner LSU Health - St. Mary Medical Center
915 Margaret Place
Shreveport, LA 71101
  • Open 24/7
Ochsner Cancer Center – Baton Rouge
17050 Medical Center Drive
Baton Rouge, LA 70816
Ochsner Health Center - Kenner
200 West Esplanade Ave.
Kenner, LA 70065