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Gastrointestinal (GI) cancer is a term used for more than just stomach cancer. GI cancers make up cancers of the entire digestive system, including cancers of the:
As a group, gastrointestinal cancers are the most common cancers in the United States. Out of the GI cancers, colorectal is the third most common type of cancer in both men and women, and the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths.
What can you do to prevent GI cancer?
Unfortunately, scientists do not know what causes many types of GI cancer, and risk factors can vary among the different types. Some risk factors you can’t control, like increasing age and family history. But others you can control by making lifestyle changes.
Take these steps to lower your risk of developing a GI cancer:
Symptoms of GI cancers can be difficult to detect early since many stomach issues can be caused by a virus or ulcer. Preventive screenings, like a colonoscopy, can be beneficial by helping detect precancerous changes in your large intestine or rectum.
Also, be on the lookout for warning signs of GI cancers, including:
If you have any of these symptoms that seem to be getting worse or don’t go away, talk to your physician. Your symptoms are your body’s way of alerting you that something is wrong. Your doctor can help diagnose and treat your condition.
Explore gastrointestinal services at Edward-Elmhurst Health.
Learn more about cancer care at Edward-Elmhurst Health.
How to make a colonoscopy more comfortable
What it’s like to get a colonoscopy before, during and after
Fecal matters: An at-home alternative to a colonoscopy
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