Oesophageal and gastric cancer
Oesophageal cancer and stomach cancer (oesophago-gastric) diagnosis and treatment is complex so is performed in Specialist Cancer Centres, like the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
Mr Griffiths’ outcome for this surgery is available on the NHS Consultant Outcomes website and is extremely good compared to the national average for this demanding and complex surgery.
Mr Griffiths is a member of a team of surgeons and other professionals called a multidisciplinary team (MDT) which can deliver this service in Birmingham for patients with these cancers.
The MDT includes specialist oncologists, radiologists, gastroenterologists, dieticians, specialist nurses and other specialists. They routinely treat and manage patients with oesophageal and stomach cancer. Often complex patients diagnosed in other units are sent to us for our specialist expertise.
Oesophageal cancer is when abnormal cells in the food pipe (oesophagus) grow in an uncontrolled way. The oesophagus is also known as the gullet. It is the tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach. Most people are over the age of 60 when they are diagnosed and men are more often affected than women. Symptoms of oesophageal cancer can include difficulty swallowing, indigestion, heartburn and weight loss. Urgent endoscopy is the diagnostic procedure of choice to assess for this type of cancer, as small biopsies (small pieces of tissue) can be taken to confirm the diagnosis by a pathologist. Most oesophageal tumours are adenocarcinomas or squamous cell cancers.
Stomach cancer is also known as gastric cancer. It affects the inner lining of the stomach. It is important that the diagnosis is made swiftly, before the cancer has spread to allow the best possible outcome from treatment. Symptoms of potential stomach cancer include weight loss, indigestion, vomiting blood, loss of appetite and abdominal pain. Urgent endoscopy is the diagnostic procedure of choice to assess for this type of cancer, as small biopsies (small pieces of tissue) can be taken to confirm the diagnosis by a pathologist. Stomach cancer affecting the upper part of the stomach is becoming more common in the UK, whilst rates of stomach cancer affecting the lower part of the stomach is on the decrease.
Most stomach tumours are adenocarcinomas, which is a type of cancer affecting the inner lining of the stomach. Some of these cancers can be genetic, especially in patients with a strong family history of the disease or develop the disease at an early age (< 40 years old). Other types of tumours affecting the stomach include lymphomas or gastro-intestinal stromal tumours (GISTs).
Surgical treatment for oesophageal and gastric cancer
What is an oesophagectomy?
An oesophagectomy is a surgical procedure that removes part or most of the oesophagus, usually for cancer. All or part of the surgery can be performed keyhole or laparoscopically.
In 2019 Mr Griffiths featured on the BBC television programme Surgeons on the Edge of Life. In the episode he is featured performed a challenging three stage oesophagectomy percedure. See more details about this operation here – https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p077wzh8
What is a gastrectomy?
A gastrectomy is a partial or full surgical removal of the stomach. This is done for both benign and malignant (cancerous) conditions. Depending on the reason for, and the type of gastrectomy, it may be performed as an open or laparoscopic / keyhole procedure.
What results does Mr Griffiths have for cancer surgery?
Please see the NHS Consultant Outcomes publication for Mr Griffiths’ oesophagogastric cancer surgical results. https://www.nhs.uk/profiles/consultant/4732039