Cancer Center

NewYork-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital

Digestive Cancers

The latest treatments for colorectal, stomach, esophageal, and hepatobiliary cancers

Advanced Treatment for Gastrointestinal Cancers

At NewYork-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital, our approach to colorectal and other digestive cancers goes beyond simply treating your illness. We strive to maintain your quality of life and speed your recovery while aiming for the ultimate goal: curing your cancer. Our specialists treat people with all types and stages of digestive cancers. We offer the full spectrum of cancer care, from diagnosis through treatment and survival.

What We Treat

We care for patients with all types and stages of digestive cancer, including:

  • Esophageal cancer
  • Stomach (gastric) cancer
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Anal cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Bile duct cancer
  • Appendiceal cancer

Screening & Diagnosis

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in America and also one of the most treatable, especially when it is found early. Our gastroenterologists are experienced in performing colonoscopies to screen for colorectal cancer in its earliest stages, before it causes symptoms, and to remove potentially precancerous polyps before they progress to cancer. Tests we perform to diagnose digestive cancers include:

  • Advanced interventional endoscopic techniques to see abnormal tissue and obstructions in the digestive tract and hepatobiliary system, and to remove tissue to be analyzed for cancer cells. Examples include endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), which combines x-rays and the use of an endoscope, and endoscopic ultrasound, which combines endoscopy with sound waves to see the digestive tract.
  • Imaging exams such as ultrasound, CT, MRI, and PET/CT scanning
  • Blood tests to look for markers that may suggest the presence of cancer

Our Approach to Care

Our digestive cancer surgeons, gastroenterologists, interventional endoscopists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, and other specialists are known for providing leading medical and surgical care for people with gastrointestinal cancers. We are part of Columbia University’s cancer care team and participate in regular tumor boards, discussing each case and combining our expertise to assemble the most effective treatment plan for each patient. When you come to us for care, a patient navigator coordinates your tests, treatments, and follow-up visits and serves as your point of contact to answer any questions.

Our goal is not only to help you get better but to help you live better, too. We offer nutritional counseling for people with or at risk for digestive cancers, genetic counseling and testing, palliative care to promote your comfort, and special resources for those who need an ostomy as part of their surgical care. We understand the burden that digestive cancers can place on your life and the lives of your loved ones, and we do whatever we can to lessen it.

Digestive Cancer Treatments

When planning your treatment, our physicians consider the type, location, and stage of your cancer, as well as your age and physical health.

Minimally invasive surgery

We perform minimally invasive surgery for digestive cancers whenever appropriate — including robotic colectomy (removal of the colon) and transanal endoscopic microsurgery (TEMS) for rectal cancer — resulting in less pain after surgery, smaller incisions, a shorter recovery, and a quicker return to your regular activities. Some patients with early-stage esophageal cancer can have video-assisted thoracoscopy (VATS); scopes placed through small incisions in the chest and abdomen are used to visualize, grasp, and remove diseased esophageal tissue and surrounding lymph nodes. If you need a more extensive procedure, such as certain liver and pancreatic surgeries, it may be performed at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center, with your presurgical and postsurgical care at our hospital.

Preserving bowel function

Using laparoscopic and open surgical approaches, our highly experienced colorectal cancer surgeons can often maintain or restore bowel function and avoid the need for a permanent colostomy in patients with colorectal cancer. Our surgeons perform complex procedures such as "intersphincteric proctectomy" (removal of the rectum) and colonic J-pouch and coloplasty (construction of a pouch to serve as a replacement for a surgically removed large intestine). Our goal is to remove your cancer effectively while leaving you with as much bowel function as possible.


Chemotherapy may be used before surgery to shrink your tumor and/or after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells and is sometimes given in combination with radiation therapy. Presurgical therapy increases the likelihood of completely removing your tumor during surgery and improves your chance of a cure. Chemotherapy is the primary treatment for most patients with inoperable tumors. You can receive chemotherapy in our modern and comfortable infusion centers. Some anticancer medications, such as erlotinib for pancreatic cancer or sorafenib for liver cancer, may be taken at home by mouth.


Some patients with advanced digestive cancers may receive drugs, such as pembrolizumab, which boost the power of the immune system to find and kill cancer cells. You can receive these medications at NewYork-Presbyterian Hudson Valley’s infusion center.

Local therapies for liver cancer

Some patients with liver tumors have local therapies such as chemoembolization, which involves delivering chemotherapy directly into the tumor through a temporary catheter into the main liver artery, combined with a substance that blocks blood flow to the tumor. Other local therapies include radiofrequency ablation (applying heat through a probe to destroy cancer cells in small liver tumors) and radioembolization (delivering tiny spheres of radiation to the tumor via the main liver artery).

Interventional endoscopic treatments

Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) may be used alone or with other approaches to unblock clogged bile ducts, insert a stent into a narrowed esophagus or small intestine, or destroy cancerous tissue in the upper digestive tract using intense heat (radiofrequency ablation) or freezing temperatures (cryotherapy). These approaches relieve pain, jaundice, and other symptoms.

Radiation therapy

Our team uses intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), which enables us to deliver precisely targeted radiation directly to the tumor while sparing nearby healthy tissue. We also use stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT), which delivers high-dose radiation over a few treatment sessions, to target some digestive cancers.

Why Choose Us

The care of digestive cancers can be quite complex and requires the expertise of multiple specialists working as a team. This is the approach we take at NewYork-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital. For some patients with advanced disease, the greatest hope comes in the form of a clinical trial. Being part of a major academic medical center — the National Cancer Institute-designated Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center of Columbia University Irving Medical Center — we can connect our patients with clinical trials assessing promising investigational therapies for digestive cancers. We understand that treatment can be lengthy and sometimes complicated, and we are here for you every step of the way. Give us a call today to arrange a consultation.

Our Locations

Digestive Cancer Care is Available At:

NewYork-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital

Cheryl R. Lindenbaum Comprehensive Cancer Center - Hematology-Oncology and Infusion Center

NewYork-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital

Cheryl R. Lindenbaum Comprehensive Cancer Center - Radiation Oncology

Experience Our Excellence in Cancer Care