Important information

A person with a suspected upper gastrointestinal cancer should be referred to a specialist who is a member of an upper gastrointestinal (or similar) multidisciplinary team.

All specialists listed on Canrefer are members of a multidisciplinary team.


What is upper gastrointestinal cancer?

Upper gastrointestinal cancer is cancer that starts in the cells of any part of the upper gastrointestinal tract. This can include the oesophagus, stomach (gastric), pancreas, liver, small intestine, bile duct or gall bladder.

There are separate pages for liver canceroesophageal cancer and pancreatic cancer.

Graphic of a human body highlighting the stomach and oesophagus


What tests are needed?

Common tests used to diagnose an upper gastrointestinal cancer include:

  • physical examination
  • blood tests
  • endoscopy
  • laparoscopy
  • biopsy
  • imaging - ultrasound, x-ray, CT scan, MRI scan and/or PET scan.


What treatment options are there?

Treatments for an upper gastrointestinal cancer may include one or more of the following:

  • surgery
  • chemotherapy
  • targeted therapy
  • radiotherapy.

If treatment is specialised and complex, patients may need to travel to have a part of their treatment. The local health district will have an arrangement in place for this.


How common is upper gastrointestinal cancer in NSW?

Upper gastrointestinal cancer was diagnosed in:

  • 2015
    3447 people in NSW
  • 2014
    3550 people in NSW
  • 2013
    3342 people in NSW
Data source: Cancer statistics NSW portal (sourced from Institute Data Warehouse, Cancer Institute NSW. Available at:


Last updated: 22 February 2019