What you need to know
Treatment of oesophageal cancer can involve complex surgery.
It is recommended that you:
- See a specialist who is a member of a multidisciplinary team. You can ask your GP to refer you.
- Have your surgery at a recommended hospital.
What is cancer of the oesophagus?
The oesophagus is the tube that takes food and drink from the mouth to the stomach. Oesophageal cancer starts when cells in the oesophagus become abnormal. These cells divide and grow to form a cancer.
Who do I see for diagnosis and treatment?
If your GP suspects you have oesophageal cancer, they will refer you to a specialist.
The specialist should:
- have experience treating oesophageal cancer
- be an active member of a multidisciplinary team
All the specialists on Canrefer are members of multidisciplinary teams.
Why are multidisciplinary teams important?
A multidisciplinary team is a team of doctors, nurses and other health professionals. Team members meet regularly to discuss their patients. They plan treatment for new cancer patients and review treatment for existing patients.
Multidisciplinary teams are important. Team members work together to decide the best treatments for patients.
You can ask your GP to refer you to a specialist who is part of a multidisciplinary team. Talk to your GP about this.
All specialists listed on Canrefer are members of a multidisciplinary team.
What tests do I need?
You may have some of the tests listed below to diagnose oesophageal cancer. The most common tests are:
- Physical examination
- Blood tests
- Endoscopic ultrasound
- Imaging - ultrasound, CT scan and/or PET scan
What treatment will I have?
Treatment for oesophageal cancer may include one or all types of these cancer treatments:
Oesophageal cancer surgery is very complex. It requires a special team of health care professionals with a lot of experience doing this type of surgery.
Where will I have treatment?
If you need surgery for oesophageal cancer you should have this at one of the hospitals on the list below. These hospitals do regular oesophageal cancer surgery.
Research shows that it is better to have complex surgery at hospitals that do a lot of this type of surgery. Patients have fewer complications, less risk of early death, and better overall survival.
You may need to travel to have surgery at a recommended hospital. Your Local Health District will have an arrangement in place for this.
You may be able to have parts of your treatment, such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy, closer to home. Please discuss this further with your treating specialist.
Travel assistance for rural patients
If you live in a rural area and need help to travel for your treatment visit NSW Government IPTAAS for more information.
How common is oesophageal cancer in NSW?
Oesophageal cancer was diagnosed in:
Data Source: Annual NSW cancer incidence and mortality dataset, 2012 (sourced from the NSW Cancer Registry)