Why Choose Us for GI Cancer Care?

Nationally Recognized Programs

The Center for Gastrointestinal Oncology brings together two of the University of Chicago Medicine's nationally recognized programs--cancer and gastroenterology. Both programs are consistently ranked among the top in the nation by U.S.News & World Report. In addition, our cancer program is one of only two programs in Illinois designated by the National Cancer Institute as an official cancer center.

Multidisciplinary Teams

Together, experts from medical and surgical oncology, general surgery, gastroenterology and radiation oncology design an individualized treatment plan for each patient. These physicians work with nurses, psychologists, nutritionists, social workers, and other members of the care team to ensure the best possible outcomes. Therapies are selected based on a consensus of opinion, rather than just one physician’s particular approach. This means patients benefit from the combined expertise of many of the best cancer specialists in the country.

Because we coordinate a patient's care across multiple specialties, we can minimize the time from an initial appointment to the start of treatment. The University of Chicago Center for Gastrointestinal Oncology is committed to providing easily accessible, responsive, and coordinated care to our patients.

Georgann Advanced treatments -- like the Whipple procedure for pancreatic cancer -- help people like Georgann beat cancer. »Read patient stories

Early Detection, Accurate Diagnosis

At the University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center, our doctors are skilled in the use of several interventional endoscopy procedures for the detection and diagnosis of gastrointestinal cancer. We are also able to view live images of tissue in the digestive tract at a microscopic level, enabling earlier and more accurate diagnosis of gastrointestinal cancers. To perform this technique--called probe-based confocal laser endomicroscopy (pCLE)--our physicians use one of the smallest microscopes in the world. Minimally invasive endoscopic techniques often help our physicians determine the most appropriate course of cancer treatment, preventing or reducing the need for biopsies or more invasive surgical procedures.

Experts in Surgical Oncology

Our physicians are recognized authorities in the surgical management of cancer. We have particular expertise in complex cancer cases where it has been demonstrated that improved outcome is seen in institutions that perform surgery in high numbers. Many patients considered untreatable at other institutions have found the care they need at the Center for Gastrointestinal Oncology.

Whenever possible, we offer minimally invasive procedures for cancer treatment. For patients, minimally invasive surgery means reduced recovery time, less pain, fewer complications, and minimal scarring. Our center is one of the Midwest's fastest-growing destinations for the surgical treatment of gastrointestinal cancers.

Leaders in Gastroenterology

The University of Chicago was the first institution to establish a full-time department of gastroenterology--in 1927. Since then, our gastroenterologists have earned an international reputation as leaders in this field.

Ralph Weichselbaum, MD Ralph Weichselbaum, MD, chairman of the Department of Radiation and Cellular Oncology, is an internationally recognized expert in the experimental treatment of advanced gastrointestinal malignancies.

Advanced Radiation Therapy Technology

The University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center is a leader in intensity-modulated radiotherapy, image-guided radiotherapy and stereotactic body radiosurgery. These high-precision treatment techniques allow radiation oncologists to treat tumors with the highest degree of accuracy, making treatment safer and more effective.

Unparalleled Experience

Every year, we treat a large number of patients with cancer. This vast experience often translates into better-targeted treatment therapies for our patients. In addition, we often have better outcomes for surgical procedures, especially the most complex operations to remove cancers.

Leading Research

Our physicians not only treat patients, but are also on the leading edge of cancer research. Physicians and scientists at the University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center are studying cancer at every point along the research spectrum, including gastrointestinal cancer clinical trials. Because of this research, we can offer new treatments that are not readily available at other medical centers.

We are committed to identifying effective new cancer therapies and researching investigational drugs. In fact, one of our physicians found that a combination of investigational and established drugs could increase the one-year survival rate for patients with advanced pancreatic cancer from 18 percent to 54 percent.

In addition, University of Chicago doctors hold leadership positions in two national cooperative clinical oncology research groups--the American College of Surgeons Oncology Group (ACOSOG) and the Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB).


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Digestive Diseases Center

Our physicians and researchers deliver outstanding patient care while working to discover new treatments for digestive diseases. Read more about the Digestive Diseases Center (PDF).

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