Upper Gastrointestinal (GI) and HPB Cancer

At Cabrini we are experts at treating cancers affecting the digestive system including pancreas, stomach, small intestine, oesophagus, liver, gall bladder and small bowel. We offer comprehensive and coordinated care to patients. We understand that every cancer case is different and requires a unique approach based on your individual circumstances.

General Inquiries

Phone: (03) 9508 1222

Operating Hours

Consulting rooms
Monday – Friday, 9 am – 5 pm
*Out of hours consultations as required

Emergency Department
Cabrini Malvern 24 hours, 7 days a week

Inpatient wards
24 hours, 7 days a week

Referral

Required.

For Patients | For GPs

Locations

Cabrini Malvern
181-183 Wattletree Road, Malvern VIC 3144
(03) 9508 1222
Cabrini Brighton
243 New Street, Brighton VIC 3186
(03) 9508 5888
Palliative & Supportive Care
646 High Street, Prahran VIC 3181
(03) 9508 1000
Rehabilitation - Elsternwick
2-6 Hopetoun Street, Elsternwick VIC 3185
(03) 9508 5100

Why choose Cabrini for your Upper GI and HPB cancer care?

At Cabrini we offer a coordinated and comprehensive cancer care plan for our patients. Our team understands every cancer case is different and requires a unique approach based on your individual circumstances. Cabrini’s upper gastrointestinal (GI), hepatobiliary and pancreatic cancer specialists are at the forefront of the latest medical treatments, clinical trials and advancements in surgical techniques. 

Our specialists aim to triage new patients within hours of an urgent referral and within a week of non-urgent referrals. We ensure all patients receive prompt treatment and rapid access to experts and services. We provide access to all diagnostic services required for the accurate investigation and staging of your cancer. This includes a full range of pathology and medical imaging services all in one convenient location.

Our specialists treat all types of upper gastrointestinal and hepatobiliary cancers affecting the digestive system including:

  • Pancreas
  • Stomach
  • Small intestine
  • Oesophagus
  • Liver
  • Gall bladder
  • Small bowel

These cancers occur when cells in the tissue of these organs start to abnormally grow. They can start to impact and spread to other parts of the body.


Diagnosis and treatment

Once diagnosed, the most important factor to consider is that accurate investigations and staging of these cancers is crucial. These investigations ensure the most appropriate management of care is planned, with you at the centre of your care.

Most of these cancers are treated by several modalities, such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery, or a combination of these. There are other radiological treatments available depending on the diagnosis. Because of the complexities, all new cases are discussed at our fortnightly team meetings, in order to achieve the best patient outcomes.

Upper GI and HPB cancer services

We believe a coordinated approach to care will provide the best outcome for our patients. For this reason, our team of experienced specialists, nurses, dietitians, physiotherapists and other health professionals work as a team to review and discuss new cases to determine the best treatment plan for each patient.

  • Chemotherapy, immunotherapy or targeted treatments through day oncology or inpatient ward
  • Clinical trials including Phase 1 studies and access programs for some drugs prior to PBS reimbursement
  • Education programs and sessions, chemotherapy diary
  • Full range of medical imaging including state of the art PET scan and interventional radiology including PICC lines and ports
  • Look good feel better program
  • Living with Cancer – a free information group education session, located at Cabrini Brighton
  • On site radiotherapy with GenesisCare Radiation Oncology
  • Psycho-oncology, psychiatry, dietetics/nutrition, physiotherapy, exercise physiology and rehabilitation programs
  • Surgery
  • Wig and headwear service – a free wig service for all patients, located at Cabrini Brighton

Upper GI and HPB cancer specialists

Upper GI surgeons
(oesophageal & stomach cancers)

Hepatobiliary/pancreatic surgeons
(liver, bile duct & pancreatic cancers)

Radiation oncologists

Medical oncologists

Dietitians

  • Mariagrazia DeLuca
  • Annika Dorey

Psychology

  • Jane Fletcher

Psychiatry

  • Dr Elizabeth Dent
  • Prof David Kissan

Useful Resources

Commonly asked questions

  • What is upper gastrointestinal cancer?

    These cancers are varied in type, in which organ they came from, have different risk factors, and different treatments and outlooks. They are primarily

    named by the organ where they initially developed. Once the diagnosis is made, the next step is to determine the extent of the disease (how big is it,

    if it has spread locally, to local nodes, to other organs), and whether it is removable surgically. These scans are usually CT scans, and often MRI scans and

    PET scans are used. Sometimes minor surgery with laparoscopy, CT or endoscopic ultrasound guided biopsy is required for diagnosis and staging.

    Occasionally the diagnosis is only made after surgery to remove a suspicious lump found on x-rays/scans.

    All these scans, staging and treatment modalities are available at Cabrini Health.

  • Are these cancers preventable?

    Most of these cancers occur randomly, and many patients have no risk factors. The risk of developing some cancers is increased by smoking, being obese, and excess alcohol consumption.

  • How important is food and exercise during treatment?

    Maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise when undergoing cancer treatment has proven benefits, including increasing your chance of survival. Other benefits can include improving your quality of life, a reduced risk of cancer recurrence and extending your life.

    However, it can be difficult to know what to eat and how much exercise you should be doing.

    At Cabrini, we offer cancer patients nutrition and exercise advice backed by science, which is tailored to your individual circumstances.

    Our dietitians offer nutritional support during cancer treatment to help you with weight management and making the best meal choices. We also have a team of exercise physiologists to support you in keeping physically active. The cancer journey can take a heavy physical and mental toll, and exercise is a safe and effective way to counteract some of the side effects. The latest evidence suggests regular exercise before, during and/or following cancer treatment decreases the severity of adverse effects like fatigue and depression. It has also been linked to reduced risk of developing new cancers and conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and osteoporosis.

    Please ask your specialist for more information, visit our Allied Health Centre page or call Cabrini ACCESS on (03) 9508 1700. The Cancer Oncology Society of Australia’s Position Statement on Exercise in Cancer Care is also a great source of information.

  • Can I participate in a clinical trial?

    One of the benefits of being cared for at Cabrini is our dedication to world-class research. Cabrini’s Oncology Clinical Trials Program gives eligible cancer patients access to pioneering treatments, including immunotherapy and targeted therapies, for a range of cancers. The program was established in 2003 and provides state-of-the-art care for cancer patients and continued advancements in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. We achieve this through a combination of research, education and clinical practice.

    Your specialist will discuss any clinical trials offered at Cabrini, and other hospitals, that you may be eligible for. They may also connect you to relevant special access programs, which give patients access to new drugs before they are subsidised by the government.

  • How much will my treatment cost?

    It depends on your private health insurance policy and the type of medical tests and treatment you require. Every patient is different, so we recommend speaking to your doctors and health insurance provider. Generally, hospital cover policies pay the cost of in-hospital treatment charged by your specialist, and other costs such as accommodation and theatre fees. You may need to pay a gap, which is the difference between the total fee charged by your doctor and any Medicare rebate and health fund benefit.

    Your specialist can tell you the cost of their consultations. Often the first and second visits will cost more, and a small out of pocket cost will apply for subsequent outpatient visits. If you see the specialist in hospital, or on days when you are admitted for treatment, there will usually be no out of pocket or ‘gap’ fee for the consultation.

    Please note: this is a guide only. For further details please contact your private health provider.

  • Is financial assistance available?

    Victoria offers four free programs for people experiencing financial hardship as the result of their cancer diagnosis: The Legal Referral Service; the Financial Planning Referral Service; the Workplace Advisory Service; and the Small Business Advice Service. Industry professionals volunteer to deliver these programs to patients experiencing financial difficulties. Cancer Council Victoria offers advice in its Cancer and Your Finances Guide. It also helps refer patients to services that may be useful.

    At Cabrini we can also connect you to a social worker who can give you financial advice, such as accessing superannuation early. We understand cancer patients can experience financial hardship as a result of their diagnosis and treatment and offer a discount to eligible patients receiving chemotherapy on many services. Ask your doctor or nurse about the Cabrini Chemotherapy Card and how it can be used to offset some of the costs of care.