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Oesophago-gastric cancer: the care you should expect

Oesophago-gastric cancer means cancer in the stomach (called gastric cancer) or the oesophagus, the long tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach (oesophageal cancer). More rarely, it can happen where the oesophagus joins the stomach. Oesophago-gastric cancer has become steadily more common in the last 30 years. Around 13,000 people are newly diagnosed each year – 9 in 10 of these are aged over 50.

We want this guideline to make a difference to people with oesophago-gastric cancer by making sure:  

  • you are offered the right tests to give your care team the best information about the type and stage of cancer you have – this will help them plan your treatment
  • your care team works closely with you to agree your treatment plan, explaining the pros and cons of each option, what’s involved and how it may affect you
  • you get specialist support from a dietitian who will help you change your diet and the way you eat during and after treatment
  • you and the people close to you are offered counselling and other support to cope with the effects of oesophago-gastric cancer on your life – your care team can also help you get in touch with other people living with oesophago-gastric cancer.

Making decisions together

Decisions about treatment and care are best when they are made together. Your care team should give you clear information, talk with you about your options and listen carefully to your views and concerns.

To help you make decisions, think about:

  • What matters most to you – what do you want to get out of any treatment?
  • What are you most worried about – are there risks or downsides to the treatment that worry you more than others?
  • How will the treatment affect your day to day life?
  • What happens if you don’t want to have treatment?

If you can’t understand the information you are given, tell your health professional.

Read more about making decisions about your care.

Where can I find out more?

NHS Choices has more information about stomach cancer and oesophageal cancer.

Find your nearest local Healthwatch.

The organisations below can give you more advice and support.

NICE is not responsible for the content of these websites.

We wrote this guideline with people who have been affected by oesophago-gastric cancer and staff who treat and support them. All the decisions are based on the best research available.

ISBN: 978-1-4731-2793-7

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