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Oesophageal Cancer

Oesophageal cancer affects the gullet, the long tube that carries food from the throat to the stomach, contracting as it pushes down. It mainly affects people aged over 60 and is more common in men than women. Heavy smoking and drinking are the biggest risk factors.

Symptoms of oesophageal cancer

The prime symptoms of oesophageal cancer are difficulty swallowing, persistent indigestion or heartburn, loss of appetite and weight loss. You may also feel pain or discomfort in your upper tummy, chest or back and bring up food soon after eating.

Difficulty swallowing, from the cancer narrowing the oesophagus, is the most common of these symptoms. It may feel as though food is getting stuck and swallowing can be uncomfortable or painful.

Diagnosis of oesophageal cancer

Diagnosis is best done with an endoscopy, when a thin, flexible tube with a light and camera is passed into your mouth and down towards the stomach so that a doctor can check for cancer.

Small tissue samples – a biopsy –  may be removed for testing. If oesophageal cancer is determined, then further tests such as a CT or ultrasound scan can judge how far the cancer has progressed – measured in stages –  and the appropriate treatment.

Treatment of oesophageal cancer

A multi-disciplinary team will recommend a treatment plan which will feature surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Stage 1-3 is usually treated with surgery but may also require chemotherapy and radiotherapy; Stage 4 is not curable and requires chemotherapy, radiotherapy and other treatments to slow the spread of the cancer.

A surgeon can perform an oesophagectomy to remove a section of the oesophagus and then reconnect the remaining section to your stomach. An Endoscopic Mucosal Resection (EMR) which cuts out the tumour with a loop of wire could be recommended.

Stents can also be used to hold the oesophagus open to ease swallowing difficulties in advanced cases.

Contact us

To ask a question about oesophageal cancer or to book an appointment, contact our specialist team available Monday – Friday 8am – 6pm and on Saturday from 9am – 1pm.

Our gastrointestinal specialists team have a dedicated and caring approach and will seek to find you the earliest appointment possible with the correct specialist for your needs. If you are self-paying you don’t need a referral from your GP. You can simply refer yourself and book an appointment. If you have medical insurance (e.g. Bupa, Axa PPP, Aviva), you will need to contact your insurer for authorisation for any treatment and, in most cases, you will require a referral letter from your GP. If you do not have a GP, then we have an in-house private GP practice that you can use.Alternatively we can suggest the most appropriate course of action for you to take, given your location and individual circumstance.

Call us on 020 7078 3802 or email us at gi.unit@hje.org.uk

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GI Clinic

The GI Unit is supported by a multidisciplinary team of medical and surgical consultants. Our expert team treats and supports patients with any gastrointestinal conditions.

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Patient information

Our Hospital is renowned for providing exemplary levels of care across more than 90 services. From orthopaedics, to urology, our private GP practice and Urgent Care Clinic, our services are led by some of London’s leading Consultants. For more information, and to find a service suitable for your care, find out more about the services that we offer.

Make an enquiry

If you have any questions relating to treatment options or pricing information, get in touch with us by filling out one of our contact boxes or giving us a call on 020 7078 3802.

Our Appointments Team have a dedicated and caring approach to finding you the earliest appointment possible with the best specialist.

If you are self-paying you don’t need a referral from your GP for a consultation. You can simply refer yourself* and book an appointment.

If you have health insurance (e.g. Bupa, Axa Health, Aviva), you will need to contact your insurer to get authorisation before any treatment, and in most cases you will also require a referral letter from your GP.

If you are not registered with a GP, we have an in-house private GP practice you can use. Alternatively, we can suggest the most appropriate course of action for you to take, given your location and individual circumstances.

*Please note – for investigations such as X-rays and MRIs, a referral will be required. However, we may be able to arrange this for you through our on-site private GP.

    Make an enquiry

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