William H Allum, Jane M Blazeby, S Michael Griffin, David Cunningham, Janusz A Jankowski, Rachel Wong, On behalf of the Association of Upper Gastrointestinal Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland, the British Society of Gastroenterology and the British Association of Surgical Oncology
Over the past decade the Improving Outcomes Guidance (IOG) document has led to service re-configuration in the NHS and there are now 41 specialist centres providing oesophageal and gastric cancer care in England and Wales. The National Oesophago-Gastric Cancer Audit, which was supported by the British Society of Gastroenterology, the Association of Upper Gastrointestinal Surgeons (AUGIS) and the Royal College of Surgeons of England Clinical Effectiveness Unit, and sponsored by the Department of Health, has been completed and has established benchmarks for the service as well as identifying areas for future improvements. The past decade has also seen changes in the epidemiology of oesophageal and gastric cancer. The incidence of lower third and oesophago-gastric junctional adenocarcinomas has increased further, and these tumours form the most common oesophago-gastric tumour, probably reflecting the effect of chronic gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) and the epidemic of obesity. The increase in the elderly population with significant co-morbidities is presenting significant clinical management challenges. Advances in understanding of the natural history of the disease have increased interest in primary and secondary prevention strategies. Technology has improved the options for diagnostic and therapeutic endoscopy and staging with cross-sectional imaging. Results from medical and clinical oncology trials have established new standards of practice for both curative and palliative interventions. The quality of patient experience has become a significant component of patient care, and the role of the specialist nurse is fully intergrated. These many changes in practice and patient management are now routinely controlled by established multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) which are based in all hospitals managing these patients.