Oesophageal & Gastric Diseases

What is Barrett’s oesophagus?

Barrett’s Oesophagus is a condition where the normal lining, coating the lower part of the gullet (oesophagus) changes to being a different lining which is more like than found in the stomach or intestine. This condition was named after a London surgeon called Norman Barrett in the 1950’s. He was among the first to discover it. What causes Barrett’s Oesophagus? The cause of the condition is not known. It is believed that many years of reflux of stomach contents into the gullet (sometimes perceived as heartburn) causes injury to the lining of the gullet (oesophagitis). This inflammation may lead to damage to the gullet cells, causing the change we call Barrett’s Oesophagus. Sometimes bile-containing juices in the small intestine may work their way backwards into the stomach and gullet. It is possible that this mixture of stomach and intestinal juices is more damaging to the gullet than acid alone. In normal circumstances the gullet heals [...]

Oesophago-gastric cancer

One of my main interests is oesophageal and gastric cancer. Compared to other cancers the prognosis isn't great and doesn't seem to be improving like it is in other countries for some reason. One of the ways we can improve the prognosis is to catch the disease at a much earlier stage. Echoing the main messages of the UK Governments 'Be clear on cancer' campaign from 2015, the main messages were 1. Having heartburn, most days, for 3 weeks or more could be a sign of cancer – tell your doctor 2. Food sticking when you swallow could be a sign of cancer – tell your doctor 3. Other symptoms of cancer could be weight loss, vomiting blood, lumps in the abdomen or neck, hoarse voice Risk factors for these cancers are smoking, regular alcohol intake, male gender, Barrett's oesophagus, older age and a family history of these cancers. If you have any of these [...]

Achalasia

Achalasia is a rare disorder of the food pipe (oesophagus), which can make it difficult to swallow food and drink. Normally, the muscles of the oesophagus contract to squeeze food along towards the stomach. Unfortunately, it is very rare and is often misdiagnosed and treated. Most GPs will only see one case in their life time. Mr Griffiths offers the following treatments for Achalasia - Botox injections - Therapeutic balloon dilatation - Laparoscopic Heller's myotomy Each treatment options has certain advantages and disadvantages and these are detailed on this table. Please see the following links to get you understand Achalasia https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/achalasia/ https://www.opa.org.uk/downloads/achalasia/achalasia-leaflet.pdf https://www.opa.org.uk/downloads/achalasia/patient-guide-to-achalasia-2018.pdf Mr Griffiths is an expert in Achalasia and 1) can review or arrange diagnostic tests and 2) discuss various treatment options in the Outpatient clinic 3) offer the majority of treatment options for the condition, including revisional surgery or even oesophagectomy if required 4) offer follow-up for the rare condition.

Oesophageal Cancer Awareness Month February 2018

Mr Ewen Griffiths, Consultant Upper Gastrointestinal Surgeon at QEHB has marked oesophageal cancer awareness month this February by writing the following article on oesophageal cancer and how patients are supported at QEHB.  https://www.qehb.org/oesophageal-cancer-awareness-month-2018 February is oesophageal cancer awareness month.   Many cancer charities come together on this month to raise public awareness of oesophageal cancer. These charities, include Cancer Research UK, Oesophageal Patients Association, Ochre, Barratt’s oesophagus campaign, Action Against Heartburn amongst many others. Oesophageal cancer is a devastating cancer which usually affects the lower oesophagus.   Unfortunately it usually present late when curable treatment option are limited. When the cancer is caught earlier, however, more curable treatment options are available. These treatment options include removal of the tumour by endoscopy if it is very early, surgical removal or surgical removal after chemotherapy or chemo-radiotherapy. Therefore, catching the cancer at its earliest stage is of the upmost priority. Symptoms of oesophageal or stomach cancer were highlighted by [...]

Youtube Videos on recovering from oesophageal and gastric cancer surgery and treatment

Youtube Videos on recovering from oesophageal and gastric cancer surgery and treatment Quality information on the internet on recovering from oesophageal and gastric cancer treatment is difficult to find.  I recommend these youtube videos to help understand aspects of treatment.   I hope you find them informative and interesting to watch.    Please note these patients were treated in other UK centres and not by me. Brian Papworth It took Brian a while to bring a sense of normality back into his life. He explains how little steps back into eating, drinking, walking and driving let him regain his freedom and this is part of a slow building process. It has been 3 months since Brian's surgery but with lots of encouragement he has come a long way! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-03coPhKZho John Bee John talks about the recovery process after major surgery. He mentions fatigue on exertion. John found after chemotherapy he had altered sensation in the hands, [...]