Treatment

Gastrointestinal Oncology Surgery

Surgery is often the most effective treatment for gastrointestinal cancers, and research indicates that the number of cases treated at a facility greatly impacts patient survival. Every year, UF Health surgeons in the UF Health GI Oncology Center see and treat more than 1,000 patients with gastrointestinal cancers, including patients with complicated cases whose tumors are considered inoperable at many other institutions. Many of our physicians are fellowship-trained at some of the leading cancer centers in the world and have specialized training in minimally invasive and transplant surgery techniques. As a result, they bring patients the latest, most innovative surgical approaches for treatment of gastrointestinal cancers, including:

  • Sphincter-preserving surgical procedures:
    • Transanal resection
    • Transanal endoscopic microsurgery, pioneered by UF colorectal surgeons
    • Transsacral resection
    • Low rectal cancer resection with coloanal J-pouch reconstruction
    • Robotic-assisted rectal cancer resection
  • Minimally invasive or laparoscopic resection of the colon, esophagus, liver pancreas, rectum and stomach
  • Spleen-preserving pancreatic surgery
  • Transhiatal or transthoracic esophagectomy
  • Sentinel lymph node biopsy
  • Minimally invasive esophagectomy, offered by only a handful of surgeons nationwide
  • Liver metastases resection and ablation
  • Liver transplantation
  • Peritoneal metastasis resection and hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC)

Medical Gastrointestinal Oncology

Specialized UF Health gastrointestinal medical oncologists in the UF Health GI Oncology Center deliver comprehensive, state-of-the-art medical oncology therapy for patients with all types of GI cancers. The team provides immediate access to a wide variety of unique technologies and therapeutic approaches, including chemoembolization of liver tumors and other novel and investigational chemotherapies and targeted therapeutics. Many of these oncologists are involved in the testing or development of the next generation of less toxic, highly precise targeted cancer therapies. The UF Health Precision Cancer Care program includes CLIA-certified molecular profiling of clinically relevant and therapeutically actionable mutations in many of the common GI malignancies. This service is routinely included in the comprehensive multidisciplinary treatment recommendations and plan.

Gastroenterology

Physicians from the UF division of gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition play an important part in the treatment of patients with GI cancers. They perform advanced diagnostic and therapeutic endoscopic procedures for the entire gastrointestinal tract, liver, bile duct and pancreas. These include:

  • Endoscopic ultrasonography (EUS) with fine needle aspiration biopsy
  • Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) with cholangioscopy and pancreatoscopy
  • Enteral stenting, including esophagus, duodenum, rectum and colon
  • Photodynamic therapy
  • Cryotherapy
  • Endoscopic mucosal resection

UF physicians from the division were the first in the state to offer cholangioscopy and pancreatoscopy. Every year, they perform more than 700 EUS and 700 ERCP procedures at UF Health Shands, more than any other hospital in the state and provide care to patients whose cases are too complicated for other hospitals to manage.

Gastrointestinal Radiation Oncology

The UF department of radiation oncology works closely with the UF Health GI oncology team in the treatment of patients with gastrointestinal tract malignancies. Numerous highly precise and targeted radiotherapy treatment protocols are incorporated into customized patient treatment plans, including:

  • Sphincter-preserving chemo-radiotherapy
  • Precision external beam radiotherapy
    • 3-D conformal radiotherapy (3DCRT)
    • Intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT)
    • Image guided radiotherapy (IGRT)
    • Stereotactic radiotherapy
  • Intraoperative radiotherapy including brachytherapy for retroperitoneal sarcoma and recurrent malignancies after prior radiotherapy
  • Radioactive microspheres for the treatment of liver tumors
  • Radiofrequency ablation of liver tumors
  • Proton-beam therapy for some gastrointestinal malignancies