Gastrointestinal Treatments

There are many types of benign gastrointestinal (GI) conditions and types of GI cancer. The Gastrointestinal Oncology Program offers a range of treatments. You and your doctor will discuss the best course of treatment for your condition, what you can expect for results, and what you may experience as side effects. 

Benign conditions

Your physician or nurse practitioner will discuss therapy for any benign GI condition you may have. This may involve observation, surgery, antibiotics or reassurance.


Chemotherapy uses anti-cancer drugs given either intravenously or orally depending on the drug, to kill cancer cells that may be in your bloodstream. Chemotherapy is sometimes used after surgery to reduce the chance of cancer returning in organs other than the primary site. Our medical oncologists will meet with you to discuss your treatment options and potential side effects and will follow you and your progress throughout treatment. Whenever possible, we coordinate treatment through outreach centers closest to your home so you can minimize your travel during therapy.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy uses radiation to kill cancer cells. It can be effective in destroying the DNA of the cancer cells and preventing the return of cancer. Many individuals with GI cancers will receive a recommendation to undergo radiation therapy either before or after surgery. Different uses of radiation have different treatment durations. Our radiation oncologists are experienced in advanced radiation treatments for GI cancer and will plan your treatment schedule and follow your progress.


Many individuals with GI cancer will undergo surgery. Your doctor will discuss options with you based on your diagnosis. Our surgeons will work with you to help you make the best decision for yourself.

Physical therapy

Some patients may experience limited mobility after treatment. In these instances, postoperative exercises can help you recover mobility and a return to normal activities. Physical therapy might also be recommended to treat persistent pain or postoperative swelling of the surgical site. Your care team will work with you to find rehabilitation services close to home, either with Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center departments or our partners.