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Digestive Health

From top to bottom

Digestive health means so much more than you can imagine!

At Providence, some of the most complex areas of care fall under a very large umbrella we call “digestive health.” It might help to think of it like your digestive tract: it can be up to 9 metres long with a lot of moving parts. If something goes wrong with just about any of them, you need expert care ASAP.

Right now, highly-specialized teams at St. Paul’s Hospital are saving and improving the lives of patients needing sophisticated digestive health care. This may include IBD, colorectal surgery, liver disease, endoscopy, colon cancer screening and management, diabetes, and alternative nutrition.

Digestive health is a big area of care and it has a very big impact across BC. Here are just a few of the specialties that truly set St. Paul’s apart.

Inflammatory bowel disease

IBD is complex, debilitating, and incurable.

The IBD Centre at St. Paul’s provides comprehensive, innovative care for patients with digestive health concerns. Patients are seen by a team of IBD-trained specialists that includes gastroenterologists, nurses, a psychiatrist, a psychologist, a specially-trained dietitian, a pharmacist, and world-class researchers.

Among the Clinic’s many unique, patient-centred services are specialized subclinics for pregnancy, youth, surgery, and psychiatry.

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Image of Colorectal surgery team

Colorectal surgery

St. Paul’s is a Centre of Excellence in Colorectal Surgery with a specific focus on colorectal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and other diseases of the lower gastrointestinal tract.

Our colorectal surgeons handle the most complex colorectal cases in BC, perform the most cancer surgeries in western Canada, and train the next generation of colorectal surgeons.

Providence endoscopists perform some 10,000 colonoscopies each year.


The GI Clinic at St. Paul’s performs more than 9,000 procedures a year, including ERCPs, colonoscopies, and endoscopies.

Many of our physicians also have specialty training in the endoscopic management of gastrointestinal lesions, a unique skill set in North America.

We also offer one of the most extensive nutrition programs in Canada, providing care to patients across BC and Yukon who require intravenous or feeding tube nutrition.

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Image of Dr. Adam White with Dr. Monica Beaulieu

Diabetes, thyroid, and endocrinology

The Diabetes Teaching and Treatment Centre at St. Paul’s Hospital is the busiest centre of its kind in Canada.

Our multidisciplinary team of physicians, nurses, dietitians, and social workers helps educate and support people living with pre-diabetes, type 1 and 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes, and insulin pumps.

We are also home to BC’s first endocrine-focused clinic for thyroid cancers and hormone disorders. With specialists in endocrinology, surgery, radiation therapy, radiology and pathology, we’re a one-stop shop for diagnostic expertise, complex treatment regimens, educational resources, and physician and student training opportunities.

We’re not just raising funds to improve people’s health. We’re raising funds to change people’s lives. Give now. Change lives!

Give now

Right now, IBD is chronic and incurable. But we’re optimistic for our patients today and our future patients at the new Digestive Health Centre. Help us get to the bottom of IBD.

Canada has one of the highest rates of IBD in the world. And it’s increasing. In an effort to change this, our IBD specialists have teamed up with our colorectal surgeons and others to advocate for a comprehensive Digestive Health Centre at the new St. Paul’s Hospital. The Centre would include care for all gastroenterology concerns: IBD, colon cancer screening, colorectal surgery, liver, nutrition counselling, and more. It’s a bold and innovative concept that’s never been done before.

Naturally, Providence is leading the way.

Give today

Colorectal surgeons at St. Paul’s were the first in Canada to offer an innovative surgical technique for tumours deep in the abdomen, near the rectum.

By approaching the tumour from the bottom up, they minimize incisions, remove more of the cancerous tissue, leave a larger margin of healthy tissue, and reduce the need for a colostomy. The technique has a steep learning curve, but it means a much lower chance of recurrence.

Colorectal cancer is the second most common cancer in Canada. Thanks to donor support, the colorectal team acquired a TEM device. With it, they have more than doubled the number of patients they can treat. Your gift truly makes a difference!

Read more about our “bottoms up” approach for hard-to-reach tumours. 

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