Upper gastrointestinal cancers
Upper gastrointestinal cancers affects the upper part of the digestive system.
Go to the NHS website for more information about:
What to expect at your appointment
Your first appointment at hospital may take between 45 minutes to two hours. You may have tests and investigations on the same day or at a later date.
You will see a gastroenterology consultant or doctor who will ask you about your symptoms and examine you. They will explain your treatment plan and the investigations you may need.
You may also meet the upper gastrointestinal clinical nurse specialist who will be your key worker during your care. They will explain your test and treatment options and support you and your family.
You will be given written information about the type of cancer you have, your treatment options and other sources of support such as King's Macmillian Information and Support Centre.
We usually send you appointment letters for tests, investigations or treatments by post.
Tests and investigations
At your first appointment you may have one or more of the following tests at King's or you may be asked to return at a later date. They help us to find out whether you have cancer and to assess your treatment options. They include:
- barium swallow meal
- breath test
- CT scan
- endoscopy such as a gastroscopy or OGD, colonoscopy, CT colonoscopy and endoscopic ultrasound (EUS)
- PET-CT scan
Your care and treatment depends on the type cancer you have, its size and where it is, how far it has advanced (the stage) and your overall health. The final decision about what treatment you have is yours.
After our team of specialists reviews the results of your tests and investigations, we will arrange an appointment so you can discuss your treatment options with your consultant and clinical nurse specialist.
Your care may include one or more or a combination of treatments. These take place at Guy’s or St Thomas’ Hospital:
- Surgery to remove the cancer, followed by chemotherapy
If surgery is not an option, you may be offered one of the following:
- a combination of oesophageal stent insertion, radiotherapy and chemotherapy
- chemotherapy and then radiotherapy
- a course of chemotherapy
- a course of radiotherapy.
Who to contact
At your first appointment, we will tell you who your key worker is and how and when you can contact them. Your key worker is usually a clinical nurse specialist (CNS).
Clinical nurse specialist
Tel: +44 (0)20 3299 4158
Available: Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm
If you have practical queries or want further information about support groups, contact the Macmillan Centre at King’s.
Your care will be provided by a group of experts called a multidisciplinary team (MDT). This is a team of doctors, nurses and other health professionals specialising in treating your type of cancer. You can discuss your care with them and ask them any questions you have about your treatment. Our team includes:
- Professor Ingvar Bjarnason
- Dr Guy Chung-Faye
- Dr Patrick Dubois
- Dr Ian Forgacs
- Dr Bu Hayee
- Dr Robert Logan
- Dr Andrew Gaya
- Dr Paul Ross
These oncology doctors provide treatment at Guy’s and St Thomas Hospital.
How we support you
We want to make sure that you get all the assistance you need to live well with – and after – cancer. There’s a wide range of support available to help you cope with cancer, including physical, emotional and practical advice for you, your family, friends and carers.