At the Gastrointestinal Cancer Program, our team of experts treat a wide range of cancers of the gastrointestinal system, as well as pancreatic and liver cancers. Whether you need surgery, chemotherapy, or access to cutting-edge clinical trials, our team will be with you for every step of your journey.

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Conditions We Treat

Treatments & Services

Cancer Surgery

The goal of cancer surgery is to remove the cancerous tissue and a ring of normal tissue around it. The surgery may also include removing lymph nodes from the neck. Reconstructive plastic surgery may be needed if the cancer is widespread and requires extensive tissue removal. These may include surgery to the tongue, jawbone, facial skin, pharynx, or larynx. In cases such as this, tissue from other parts of the body, like the forearm or leg, can be transplanted to give patients the best possible cosmetic and functional outcomes.

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Pancreatic Cancer Surgeries

Surgery is currently the most effective treatment for pancreatic cancer. The two types of surgery used to treat pancreatic cancer are potentially curative surgery and palliative surgery. Potentially curative surgery is performed if it appears the cancer can be removed entirely. If the cancer has spread too far to be completely removed, patients may be treated with palliative surgery. Rather than try to cure the cancer, the goals of palliative surgery are to relieve symptoms and prevent problems caused by the cancer, such as the cancer blocking the bile ducts or the intestine.

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Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is a medication or combination of medications used to treat cancer. Chemotherapy can be given orally (as a pill) or injected intravenously (IV). When chemotherapy drugs enter the bloodstream, they destroy cancer cells. Chemotherapy is particularly useful for cancers that have metastisized, or spread. Chemotherapy attacks all quickly-dividing cells, regardless of whether they are cancerous which can cause a number of side effects, including hair loss, mouth sores, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, and low blood counts. Low blood counts can increase a patient’s risk of infection, bruising or bleeding, fatigue, and shortness of breath. The side effects of chemotherapy are generally temporary and often go away once treatment is completed. Chemotherapy regimens vary from patient to patient. They are generally repeated several times in cycles, with three to four weeks separating each cycle to allow damaged normal cells time to recover. After the first two or three sessions of chemotherapy, patients may have a CT or PET scan to see if the drug(s) is effective. If the drug(s) is not working, it may be switched out for a new drug(s).

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Radiation Therapy

Radiation uses special equipment to deliver high-energy particles, such as x-rays, gamma rays, electron beams or protons, to kill or damage cancer cells. Radiation (also called radiotherapy, irradiation, or x-ray therapy) can be delivered internally through seed implantation or externally using linear accelerators (called external beam radiotherapy, or EBRT).

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Liver Directed Therapy

Liver directed therapy is typically used when surgery is not an option for treatment. Liver directed therapy targets cancer in the liver and is often used to treat neuroendocrine tumors that have spread to the liver.

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Our Team

Surgery Team

Teviah E Sachs, MD, MPH

Section Chief, Surgical Oncology
Associate Professor of Surgery, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston MA

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Jennifer F Tseng, MD, MPH

Surgeon-in-Chief, Boston Medical Center
Utley Professor and Chair of Surgery, Boston University School of Medicine

David McAneny, MD

Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs

Professor of Surgery and Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs, Boston University School of Medicine

Michael R Cassidy, MD

Medical Director, Belkin Breast Health Center, Assistant Professor of Surgery, Boston University School of Medicine

Jason F Hall, MD

Chief of Colorectal Surgery
Associate Professor of Surgery, Boston University School of Medicine

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Joanne Favuzza, DO

Colorectal Surgeon
Assistant Professor of Surgery, Boston University School of Medicine

Sam Lajoie, MD

Rebecca Headrick, MD

Medical Oncology Team

Matthew H Kulke, MD

Section Chief, Hematology and Medical Oncology
Medical Director, Clinical Cancer Center
Co-Director, BU-BMC Cancer Center
Zoltan Kohn Professor of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine

Lisa M Keller, NP

Instructor of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine

Radiation Oncology Team

Akash Parekh, MD

Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology

Special Interests

Gynecological, H&N, Breast, and CNS malignancies

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Research Overview

The Gastrointestinal Cancer Program at Boston Medical Center conducts world-class clinical research and trials. Our faculty are internationally recognized for contributions to research and have been at the forefront of developing new approaches to the study and treatment of gastrointestinal cancer disorders. 

Learn more about our gastrointestinal cancer research and clinical trials.

Affiliations

Boston University School of Medicine Logo

As the principal teaching affiliate of Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), Boston Medical Center is devoted to training future generations of healthcare professionals.  Learn more about Boston University School of Medicine.

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