We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Are the Different Types of Cancer of the Digestive System?

By Marlene Garcia
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Cancer of the digestive system includes tumors in the esophagus, stomach, liver, pancreas, gallbladder, and colon, which might involve the rectum or anus. Each type of gastrointestinal cancer develops from cells found in the specific organ. Some forms of cancer of the digestive system fail to produce symptoms until the disease becomes advanced, but screening might identify tumors at an early stage.

Pancreatic cancer is considered difficult to diagnose and treat because this type of cancer of the digestive system rarely develops early signs. Two kinds of cells in the pancreas might become cancerous: endocrine cells or exocrine cells. Endocrine cells produce hormones the body uses for many different functions. Also called islet cells, tumors in these cells rarely become cancerous.

Exocrine cells make enzymes needed to digest food. They exist in sacs where 95 percent of all pancreatic cancer begins. Malignant tumors may cause stomach or back pain, diarrhea, or heartburn as the cancer spreads within the pancreas or to nearby organs. In some patients, the skin and whites of the eyes take on a yellowish tint. The prognosis for cancer of the digestive system involving the pancreas depends on the stage of the disease, whether it has spread, and the type of abnormal cells.

Primary or secondary liver cancer might develop within the liver or elsewhere before spreading to this organ. The liver sits inside the rib cage and serves as a filter for harmful substances. It sends toxic material to the urine and feces for excretion and produces bile to digest food. Tumors in the liver typically progress to an advanced stage rapidly and occur more often in people with cirrhosis or hepatitis.

Stomach cancer usually starts in cells in the inner lining of the stomach before spreading to other layers. Acids in the stomach break down carbohydrates, fats, protein, vitamins, and minerals for use. Advanced stomach cancer might make swallowing difficult, produce pain, or show up as bloody stools. Indigestion, nausea, and loss of appetite represent other symptoms of the disease. Risks of stomach cancer increase with age, poor diet, and other stomach conditions, such as bacterial infection, inflammation, and ulcers.

Colon cancer might develop in the large or small intestines, and represents the most common form of cancer of the digestive system. It might be cured if caught early by surgically removing tumors or a section of the colon where cancer cells exist. Any change in bowel habits, such as constipation, diarrhea, smaller stools, or bloody feces, might indicate colon cancer. People over the age of 50 and patients with a family history of colon cancer face higher risks of the disease.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.