Patients are referred to the gastroenterology department with symptoms that could be caused by a gastric, oesophageal, or hepato-pancreato-biliary (HPB) cancer. It is important that if you do have a cancer, we diagnosis it as quickly as possible. 

You will receive a notification for a telephone appointment — a specialist nurse will call you at or just after your appointment time for a telephone assessment. 

This assessment can take up to 20 minutes. You will be asked questions about your current symptoms, past medical history, and general health.  

The following tests may be used for diagnosing upper gastrointestinal (GI) cancers:

  • gastroscopy (endoscopy)
  • CT scans
  • MRI scans 

Patients having an endoscopy will be informed of the results at the time of their procedure.

Patients having a scan will be informed of the results either by telephone or via a face-to-face appointment in the clinic. This will be approximately two weeks after the scan.

If an upper GI cancer is diagnosed during the initial tests, the specialist nursing team will contact you to arrange further tests to ‘stage’ the cancer. 

This means establishing the size, type and if there is any spread of the cancer. It will allow us to plan treatment specific to your cancer.

The following tests may be used to stage your cancer:

  • biopsy 
  • FDG PET-CT scan
  • laparoscopy

  • Cancers such as esophageal, gastric, pancreas, bile duct or gallbladder adenocarcinoma that has not spread are considered for surgery. Chemotherapy may also be considered before and/or after surgery. 
  • Esophageal squamous cell cancer that has not spread is considered for a combination of chemo-radiotherapy. 
  • Inoperable or metastatic disease will be considered for chemotherapy. 

All treatment plans offered are tailored to your cancer and your fitness to undergo treatments. They are discussed so you understand why the treatment is being offered.  

We believe research is essential to raise standards of cancer care, and to improve the prognosis of patients with gastrointestinal cancers. 

Not all patients are suitable or willing to take part in a clinical trial, however, our philosophy is to give patients the option of a research trial if one is available.