Symptoms, investigations and management of patients with cancer of the oesophagus and gastro-oesophageal junction in Australia

B Smithers, Paul Fahey, Tracie Corish, David Gotley, Gregory Falk, Garrett Smith, G Kiroff, Andrew Clouston, David Watson, David Whiteman

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    20 Citations (Scopus)


    Objective: To document presenting symptoms, investigations and management for Australian patients with oesophageal adenocarcinoma (OAC), gastro-oesophageal junction adenocarcinoma (GOJAC) and oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC). Design, setting and participants: Cross-sectional study of a population-based sample of 1100 Australian patients aged 18-79 years with histologically confirmed oesophageal cancer diagnosed in 2002-2005, using data from cancer registries and treatment centres, supplemented with clinical information collected through medical record review in 2006-2007 and mortality information collected in 2008. Main outcome measures: Prevalence of primary symptoms, and staging investigations and treatment modalities used. Results: The primary presenting symptom was dysphagia, which was self-reported by 41%, 39% and 48% of patients with OAC, GOJAC and OSCC, respectively. Less common symptoms were reflux, chest pain, bleeding and weight loss. All patients underwent endoscopy, most had a staging computed tomography scan (OAC 93%, GOJAC 95% and OSCC 93%), and about half had positron emission tomography scans (OAC 51%, GOJAC 44% and OSCC 42%). Pretreatment tumour stage was reported in 25% of records, and could be derived from results of investigations in a further 23%, but the remaining half lacked sufficient information to ascribe a pretreatment stage. Curative treatments were attempted for 60% of OAC, 88% of GOJAC and 65% of OSCC patients. Surgery was performed on 52% of OAC, 83% of GOJAC and 41% of OSCC patients. About two-thirds of surgical patients received additional therapies. Conclusions: With anticipated increases in oesophageal cancer incidence, the resources required to diagnose and manage patients with oesphageal cancer are also likely to rise. Our data provide a baseline from which to plan for the future care of patients with cancers of the oesophagus.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)572-577
    Number of pages6
    JournalMedical Journal of Australia
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2010


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