Gastro-oesophageal cancer: facts, myths and surgical folk lore.
ABSTRACT The prognosis of patients with gastric and oesophageal cancers remains poor but increased knowledge of the factors involved in carcinogenesis and a better understanding of the disease process has led to strategies to improve outcomes. These are discussed under the following headings: (1) Prevention of the disease, (2) early detection of tumours, (3) treatment selection and (4) treatment. The likely impact of developments in each of these areas is considered in relation to population-based data from the Scottish Audit of Gastro-Oesophageal Cancer (SAGOC). Although there are a number of novel developments in the management of gastric and oesophageal cancer it is only by the conduct of controlled trials that the value of these will be determined. More immediate improvements in patient care may be derived from rationalisation of existing resources to ensure that all patients benefit from early diagnosis, the appropriate selection and delivery of treatment. One model of care, which may ensure this is the development of managed clinical networks, would maintain the involvement of all units in the management and treatment of upper GI cancers to a level that is possible with the facilities available. At the same time the patients requiring more specialised treatment would benefit from established referral networks