GI Cancer Prevention Program

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in both men and women in the United States. Because of a family cancer history, some people may have a greater chance of developing this disease. About 10% of the population is thought to be at increased risk, and may benefit from earlier or more extensive screening strategies.

The Gastrointestinal (GI) Cancer Prevention Program at UI Health offers personalized risk assessment and individualized care to patients of all ages who are at an increased risk of cancer. "Being 'high risk' does not necessarily mean you will develop a cancer, but it is reason enough to take charge of your health and be proactive about cancer prevention and screening", says Dr. Keith B. Naylor. "When detected in its earliest stage, colon cancer is often curable, which is why it's important to know your risk so you can take proactive measures. We work with patients to combat the disease before it begins through more frequent colonoscopies and strategies to improve overall health, such as proper nutrition and exercise." 

If you or a close relative has had more than one GI cancer (including colorectal cancer) or pre-cancerous conditions, such as colon polyps, you may be at an increased risk of cancer. The GI Cancer Prevention Program can help patients with known risk factors develop a personalized program to help lower those risks. The first step is a meeting with Dr. Naylor to determine if further diagnostic screening and/or treatment is advised. 

You may then be referred to a genetic counselor to help you understand your family's history of cancer and its significance. Other members of our multidisciplinary team include: medical and surgical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists, dermatologists, gynecologists, colorectal surgeons, clinical psychologists, nurses, nutritionists, and a registry coordinator to develop a plan for surveillance and prevention to meet each patient's unique needs. Your plan may include:

  • Cancer screening to help find cancer early or prevent it from occurring. We can help you determine which types of cancer screenings to consider and how often you should be checked.
  • Genetic testing that can help you understand your personal cancer risk, and may influence the choices you and your family make about cancer screenings.
  • Clinical trials that examine the best ways to prevent and treat inherited colorectal cancer also may be an option for you. Your healthcare team will discuss these studies with you.


If you are a healthcare provider wanting to refer a patient, please call our advanced practice nurse line at 312.413.2946. If you are a patient wanting to discuss possible referral, please call our clinic nurse line at 312.996.8298.