Gastrointestinal Cancer


The Gastrointestinal Tumor Service (GITS) is designed to provide easy access to a multidisciplinary team specializing in diagnosing and treating colorectal and gastrointestinal cancers.

The gastrointestinal cancers we treat include:

Your Treatment Options

The Cancer Institute at The University of Tennessee Medical Center offers the broadest spectrum of cancer specialists and services to care for our patients with gastrointestinal cancers. Cancer patients receive all of their cancer care including surgical consultationsradiation therapygenetic counseling/testingchemotherapy infusions, and supportive and integrative health services, all in the same building.

Patients are reviewed at our weekly multidisciplinary conference where surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, radiologists, pathologists, genetic counselors, nurses and clinical trials coordinators gather to determine the best individualized treatment plan for each patient. This level of coordination ensures that patients are receiving the highest level of care, offering the best outcomes and quality of life.

Treatment options are provided towards comprehensive education, prevention, risk reduction and diagnostics that include:


A gastroenterologist is a board certified physician with extensive training in diseases of the digestive tract, including colon cancer, acid reflux disease and hepatitis C. These medical specialists concentrate on the diagnosis and treatment of diseases involving the esophagus, stomach, small intestine and large intestine (colon), rectum, anus, liver, gallbladder and pancreas.

Gastroenterologists at the University of Tennessee Medical Center provide evaluation and perform tests to make a diagnosis and collaborate with the multiple other cancer specialists to determine the best course of treatment for each individual patient. Our team of gastroenterologists are board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and the subspecialty board of Gastroenterology.

Colorectal Surgeons

Colorectal surgeons are doctors who perform surgery in order to correct problems with the small bowel, anus, rectum or colon. The colorectal surgeons at the University Medical Center are fellowship trained and specialize in the detection, diagnosis, and treatment of disorders affecting the lower gastrointestinal tract. Their expertise includes the treatment of tumors of the colon and rectum, diverticulitis, inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease & Ulcerative colitis), anorectal problems (hemorrhoids, fissure, abscess, fistula, and warts), and fecal incontinence. Colorectal surgeons provide screening for colorectal polyps and cancer as well as screening for anal cancer, including high resolution anoscopy. Colorectal surgeons are trained in advanced surgical techniques, including J-pouch surgery for ulcerative colitis, minimally invasive surgery, and minimal access approaches to colon and rectal surgery using conventional laparoscopy, and robotic assisted surgery. The colorectal surgeons also provide post-operative care to ensure proper healing and recovery.


The University of Tennessee Medical Center’s Department of Pathology provides expert surgical pathology services which are critical to the diagnosis and classification of colorectal cancers. An accurate diagnosis involving both gross and microscopic examination of tissue, body fluids and cells is a requisite to determining an individualized treatment plan for each patient. Special tests and molecular markers are also performed by the Pathology Department which provide additional information important to the multidisciplinary team when recommending the most appropriate treatment. The Department of Pathology also offers a second review and opinion of slides and reports from other facilities. Our team of board certified pathologists includes pathology faculty members who specialize in specific cancers and have extensive experience evaluating and accurately characterizing cancerous tissue specimens.

Your care team may also include:

Clinical Trials

Cutting-edge treatment is offered to patients along with opportunities to participate in National Cancer Institute and pharmaceutical clinical trials. Clinical trials are research studies made available to patients that offer the newest treatments and test new ways to prevent, detect, diagnose and treat diseases.

For more information, visit Clinical Trials or call 865-305-9773.

Your Next Steps

The Cancer Institute’s GITS provides easy access to a multi-disciplinary team that specializes in the diagnosis, treatment and follow-up care of patients with gastrointestinal (GI) cancers, including colorectal cancers. This includes those of the colon, stomach, small intestines, rectum, liver, pancreas, bile ducts, esophagus, anus and retroperitoneum.

One phone call can put you in touch with our team of board certified physicians led by James McLoughlin, MD, a surgical oncologist. Our team of specialists have an interest and expertise in the evaluation, management and treatment of all GI cancers. Patient cases are reviewed at a weekly multidisciplinary tumor conference attended by surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, gastroenterologists, radiologists, pathologists, genetic counselors and clinical nurses in order to determine the best treatment plan for the individual. This individualized treatment plan is designed to maximize outcomes and quality of life.

GITS is designed to expedite the care of patients referred with symptoms or findings suspicious for a GI malignancy or a confirmed cancer diagnosis. The GITS nurse navigator assists with the coordination of each referral while providing information, education and support for patients and their families. In partnership with the referring physician, the GITS will work to determine and complete the specific plan of care. Patients may be referred for only special diagnostic procedures or treatments and then returned to the referring physician for completion of their care plan and follow-up.

All specialists and procedures are available in one location on the campus of The University of Tennessee Medical Center.

Our Cancer Institute team is here for you in what can be a very stressful time. Please don’t hesitate to ask questions and request help when you need it. Our new patient section will provide you additional information about the Cancer Institute and everything you need to know to prepare for your first visit.

For more information on colorectal cancer, visit External Resources for several trusted sites to enhance your research and understanding of your diagnosis.

Treatment Locations

Find the care you need near you.

Our Experts