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Gastrointestinal cancer is a group of cancers affecting the digestive system. When you receive services at the Cancer Network of West Michigan, you are in caring and capable hands. You have access to leading therapies from trusted organizations without traveling far. Our commitment to high-quality cancer care helps us maintain national recognition.
What Are Gastrointestinal (GI) Cancers?

Cancer develops when abnormal cells grow out of control. These growths can occur along any part of your digestive tract, including the:

  • Esophagus
  • Stomach
  • Liver and bile ducts
  • Pancreas
  • Small Intestine
  • Colon
  • Rectum
  • Anus
Find out more about the services we offer, including tests, treatments and support.
Get more information about national clinical trials happening right in our community.
Cancer services are available at several locations across West Michigan.

GI Cancer Care Through the Cancer Network: Why Choose Us?

Mercy Health,  University of Michigan Health-West and University of Michigan Health Rogel Cancer Center work together to deliver a seamless care experience. We are in regular communication through meetings called tumor boards. These discussions enable us to tailor care recommendations, making it easier to adjust therapies to your changing needs.

We offer sophisticated options you might not expect to find in community cancer programs, such as ours. We are among the few places in Michigan offering heated intraperitoneal chemoperfusion (HIPEC). This therapy delivers a heated chemotherapy solution to the abdominal cavity for cancers affecting this area.
Mercy Health and University of Michigan Health-West have a long-standing history of advancing cancer care through research. These efforts include clinical trials evaluating promising new therapies. Patients with rare cancers benefit from additional options available at University of Michigan. Explore cancer clinical trials.
Help Every
STep of the way
Our nurse navigators arrange appointments and other services that keep your care moving forward. They are with you before, during and after treatments. Specialists are also available between appointments by phone or through our secure patient portal.
Cancer Symptoms

The symptoms you experience depend on which organ the cancer is affecting. Common gastrointestinal cancer symptoms include:

  • Burning sensation in your chest
  • Changes in bowel habits, including frequent diarrhea
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Frequent cramps, gas and bloating
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Unexpected weight loss
  • Jaundice 
GI Cancer

We perform a thorough assessment that often includes multiple tests. Our careful approach helps you receive an accurate diagnosis. Your care may include:

  • Endoscopy: We slide a thin tube with a camera at the tip down your throat. This allows us to assess the upper part of the digestive tract.
  • Colonoscopy: This procedure also uses a thin tube with a camera at the tip. This allows us to examine the lower part of the digestive tract through the anus.
  • Biopsy: Doctors take a tissue sample and examine it under a microscope. This test detects cancerous cells.
  • Imaging: We may use a CT scan, MRI or positron emission tomography (PET) scan to examine your organs. If cancer is present, these tests can pinpoint the precise location of it and help us plan therapies.
  • Lab tests: We may take a sample of your blood to check for kidney or liver issues.
GI Cancer Treatment

At some of our locations, GI cancer care starts with assessments from multiple experts in a single visit. Specialists in medical, radiation and surgical oncology take time getting to know you. We explain your diagnosis, provide personalized care recommendations and plan the next steps of treatment.


Your care may include:

  • Surgery: Highly skilled experts remove cancer using techniques that are gentler on your body, such as minimally invasive surgery. We use sophisticated instruments and real-time imaging to guide procedures using small incisions so you can recover quickly.
  • Chemotherapy and other medical oncology: You receive anticancer drugs and other substances that slow cancer cell growth. We stay current on GI cancer research, so you can feel confident you are receiving the best options for your needs.
  • Radiation therapy: This option uses powerful energy to destroy cancer cells’ ability to multiply. You have access to advanced technologies that deliver focused treatments. We meticulously plan your treatment so you get the most out of each session.


Testing & Counseling
If you have a family history of pancreatic or colorectal cancer, testing can help you learn more about your risk. Genetic counselors explain how testing works. The results help us determine which preventive services might be best for you.
GI cancer can affect your appetite or make it difficult to absorb nutrients from food. Our registered dieticians identify foods that are easier on your body. You may also benefit from supplements or liquid nutrition.
We help ease the financial burden of cancer care. Counselors review your insurance coverage and identify programs that may offer additional benefits. We also share information about financial assistance programs you may be eligible for.
Social workers provide emotional support to ease some of the stress you and your loved ones may be experiencing. They offer emotional support and referrals to local resources for transportation and other needs.
GI Cancer
The best and brightest focused on your care.
Expert care not far from home:

Cancer Network services are available at several locations across West Michigan. Each facility represents the full strength, compassion and expertise we have to offer. Our integrated approach makes it easier to receive care where you’re most comfortable — near home and loved ones. 

Trinity Health Lacks Cancer Center
250 Cherry Street SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Trinity Health Johnson Family Cancer Center
1440 Sherman Blvd
Muskegon, MI 49444
University of Michigan Health-West Cancer Center
5950 Metro Way
Wyoming, MI 49519

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Ready to Talk to an expert?
The Cancer Network of West Michigan can provide a fast-tracked evaluation of your diagnosis, helping you make the best decision for your care.