Oesophagus cancer treatment

A new treatment approach for tackling cancer of the oesophagus, or food pipe, has been developed by researchers at Cardiff University and Velindre NHS Trust.

New treatment approach for Oesophageal Cancer

Patient receiving radiotherapy treatment
Patient receiving radiotherapy treatment Credit: PA

A new treatment approach for tackling cancer of the food pipe (oesophagus) has been developed by researchers at Cardiff University and Velindre NHS Trust.

Oesophageal Cancer is widely considered to be one of the most difficult cancers to treat, with 8000 new diagnoses in the UK every year, or over 150 people a week.

Supported by Cancer Research UK (CRUK) funding, researchers are now trialling a combination of ground-breaking radiotherapy techniques and two different chemotherapy drugs before surgery, in an effort to improve survival rates for patients.

For patients who are suitable for surgery, doctors can either treat them with chemotherapy or a combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy (chemo-radiotherapy) before their operation.

Recent studies have shown that chemo-radiotherapy, delivered with new radiation technology and different combinations of chemotherapy drugs, may be safer and more effective than chemotherapy alone.

Following the trial, patients will have their tumour surgically removed and will be monitored by a research team for up to 12 months.

Doctors will look at the side-effects experienced by patients, how long they remain free from cancer, and whether patients show spread of cancer to other parts of the body.

Dr Gareth Griffiths, Director of CRUK Wales Cancer Trials Unit at Cardiff University said,

"It will give us the evidence to determine whether to investigate this new treatment in a larger number of patients which could show a benefit to patients in terms of survival and could ultimately change routine practice in the UK."

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