Treatment

There are a number of treatments available for oesephago-gastric cancer. Patients may receive just one type of treatment or a combination of treatments depending on their circumstances. Patients must give their consent before they undergo any type of treatment. Treatments include:

Surgery

For some patients with oesophageal or gastric cancer, surgery may be an appropriate treatment. Surgery to remove the cancer is a major operation and it will take a number of months to recover from the surgery.

Oesophageal Cancer

Surgery

If a patient's cancer is diagnosed at an early stage, an operation may be all that is needed to cure it.  The majority of patients will require chemotherapy before and sometimes after surgery. The type of operation a patient will have depends on the size of the tumour and where it is located in the oesophagus. 

An oesophagectomy involves removal of part or most of the oesophagus and part of the stomach. This is dependent on the size and position of the tumour. Following the removal of the tumour, the stomach is reshaped and pulled up into the chest and joined to the oesophagus. Please follow the link for further information on how surgery is used to treat oesophageal cancer.

Recovery

The recovery time from surgery for oesophago-gastric cancer varies with each patient. Most patients requiring 6 months to year to make a full recovery.  The Oesophageal Patients Association NI provides a useful information leaflet on life after a oesophagectomy

Other Treatments

Endoscopic Mucosol Resection (EMR)

This type of treatment is a surgical procedure to remove the cancerous tissues of the digestive tract. An EMR is performed with a long narrow tube consisting of a light, video camera and other instruments. During endoscopic mucosal resection of the upper digestive tract, the tube (endoscope) is passed down the throat to reach an abnormality in the oesophagus, stomach or upper part of the small intestine (duodenum). This treatment is common for patients with oesophageal cancer.

For more information on Endoscopic Mucosol Resection and other types of treatment please follow this link.

Gastric Cancer

Surgery

Patients may undergo a partial gastrectomy or a total gastrectomy as part of their treatment for stomach cancer.

Partial gastrectomy

This procedure involves the removal of part of the stomach. If a patient has cancer in an area close to where the stomach meets the gullet, they may need part of their gullet removed as well.

 

  • Total gastrectomy
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  • This procedure involves the removal of the whole stomach. During a total gastrectomy, the surgeon connects the gullet to the small intestine. This ensures patients still have a working digestive system. 
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    Please follow the link for diagrams and more information on surgery to treat gastric cancer.

    Recovery

    The recovery time from surgery for oesophago-gastric cancer varies with each patient. Most patients requiring 6 months to year to make a full recovery.  Please follow the link for information on Eating after stomach surgery.