As a group, gastrointestinal tract cancers are the second most common cancers among males and females in the United States. The most dominant is colorectal cancer; remarkably, only a small proportion of people nationwide receive adequate screening for this malignancy. Patients with gastrointestinal-tract cancers are benefiting from a multidisciplinary treatment approach. For example, multidisciplinary collaboration has enabled sphincter preservation in rectal cancer. The interdisciplinary approach is also yielding favorable results for the more difficult tumors, such as pancreatic cancer and liver cancer. We are seeing the advantages of early systemic therapy as an adjunct to surgery in colorectal cancer, and novel agents are showing improved results in advanced disease. Increased utilization of adjuvant therapy in early disease could very well change the natural history of gastrointestinal-tract malignancies such as colorectal cancer.

Much effort has been put into this 20-chapter volume. We would like to thank the volume editors, Drs. Jaffer Ajani, Steven Curley, Nora Janjan, and Patrick Lynch, for their steadfast efforts in bringing this book to fruition. Also, sincere thanks to Mariann Crapanzano, Stephanie Deming, Ginny Norris, Michael Worley, and Chris Yeager of the Department of Scientific Publications for editing and compiling this volume.

Aman U. Buzdar, M.D., and Ralph S. Freedman, M.D., Ph.D.

© 2005 Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. All rights reserved. ISBN 0-387-22090-9.