Gastrointestinal (GI) Cancer Program

The Gastrointestinal (GI) Cancer Program at Penn Medicine’s Abramson Cancer Center provides diagnosis and treatment for the full spectrum of GI cancers.

The Penn Difference

Our GI cancer specialists are nationally recognized for their expertise in providing the information, care, and support to help you each step of the way.

Founded in 1992, the program is distinguished in a number of ways, including:

  • We are home to nationally recognized experts with extensive experience in diagnosing and treating gastrointestinal cancers, as well as those at risk.
  • Our researchers are leading the Stand Up 2 Cancer "Dream Team”. As one of the most innovative research projects to date, we are accelerating the pace at which new drugs for pancreatic cancer are brought to patients.
  • U.S. News & World Report ranks Penn Gastroenterology as the top in our region and in the top 10 nationally.
  • Annually we perform more than 20,000 endoscopic procedures by gastroenterologists, more than 4,000 surgical procedures by gastrointestinal surgeons, and more than 1,000 procedures performed by our colorectal surgeons.
  • We are home to radiation oncologists who are pioneering new ways to target GI tumors while sparing normal tissue.
  • We are the only medical center in the country funded by the NCI Program Project Mechanism for Esophageal Cancer.

A Premier Research Program

Our extensive research efforts make us one of the most comprehensive GI Cancer programs in the country. At Penn, our GI cancer research program:

  • Is home to basic scientists that are developing new ways to study genetic alterations and determine their clinical outcome.
  • Has a multidisciplinary research team developing and testing imaging technology that will improve our ability to diagnose and treat at the molecular level, thus allowing us to be able to detect cancer earlier and predict clinical response to treatment. These include:
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of fluorescence techniques (molecular beacons) to detect the presence of GI cancer cells.
  • Evaluating imaging (x-ray, scan etc,) to check tumor growth, size and progression, and changes in genes and cells related to cancer development.
  • Is one of the nation's largest GI cancer research centers and our investigators benefit each day from collaborations and interactions with over 400 scientists and physicians involved in the Abramson Cancer Center.

Our Team Approach

At the Abramson Cancer Center, we work together with experts from multiple disciplines including gastroenterology, surgery, medical oncology, radiation oncology, pathology and radiology. This multidisciplinary approach has been successful in decreasing the incidence of local recurrence in most GI tumors and increasing the cure rate for tumors of the colon, rectum and pancreas.

Your team will also include:

  • Patient support specialists: Our patient support specialists are experts in navigating complex health care situations. They serve as a consistent point of contact and a reliable source for support and direction for patients and families.
  • Cancer counselors: Our cancer counselors work exclusively with cancer patients and their families. They are available to provide individual, couples or family counseling. Our team includes a psychologist and psychiatrist who specializes in the issues that cancer patients face. Our cancer psychiatrist is available for counseling, prescribing medications and consulting with your team of Penn cancer specialists.
  • Registered dietitians: Our registered dietitians are available to provide nutritional counseling for patients being treated for cancer at the cancer center. Our dietitians specialize in cancer nutrition and provide information based on sound nutritional therapies.