Surgery for Gastrointestinal Cancer

Surgical treatment of gastrointestinal (GI) cancer is a necessary part of treatment for patients who have a chance to be cured. Choosing a surgeon who specializes in these complex operations is critical in order to allow for a quicker recovery, provide the best chance for removing all the tumor, and receive coordinated care for any other needed treatment.

Many different surgeries treat the different types of GI cancer. The surgical oncologists at UT Southwestern Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center are highly trained and experienced in performing the most appropriate surgery for you and your specific GI cancer.

Our multidisciplinary approach to GI cancer care means that before you receive any treatment our surgeons collaborate with medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, endoscopists, radiologists, and pathologists, all of whom specialize in GI cancer.

In some cases, patients can receive chemotherapy or radiation therapy before surgery to shrink a tumor (called neoadjuvant therapy). This approach can make surgery an option for patients with otherwise inoperable tumors, and it can make an operation safer and more effective.

Surgical Options

Surgery for gastrointestinal cancer may be done with the traditional “open” procedure or, for some patients, with a minimally invasive laparoscopic or robotic procedure.

Minimally invasive procedures generally have quicker recovery times compared to open surgery. This means you can get back to normal activities faster or move on to the next step in your treatment plan sooner.

Our team includes some of the most experienced minimally invasive GI cancer surgeons in Dallas-Ft. Worth. Having a surgeon who specializes in and has experience in the exact type of procedure you need is important – it can directly affect your outcomes and make a difference in your care.

In addition, UT Southwestern offers hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC), a unique chemotherapy procedure administered by a surgical oncologist for the treatment of some GI cancers, such as those that originate from or spread to the peritoneum, which is the membrane that lines the walls of the abdomen. HIPEC delivers heated chemotherapy directly into the abdominal cavity, where it penetrates the diseased tissue directly after all of the known tumors have been removed.

This is a highly specialized technique mastered at UT Southwestern by GI surgical oncologists Glen Balch, M.D., and Patricio Polanco, M.D., who for female patients often work closely with our gynecologic oncologists.

Clinical Trials

UT Southwestern offers clinical trials that may provide you with an opportunity to complement traditional therapy for GI cancers with the newest, most promising treatment strategies. Talk with your doctor to determine if a clinical trial is right for you.

Request an Appointment

To schedule an appointment with a gastrointestinal cancer surgery specialist, request an appointment or call 214-645-8300.

Our GI Cancer Surgeons