Once you have been diagnosed you will be referred to see Dr Hamer who will oversee your cancer treatment.
Cancers of the stomach and oesophagus can require different treatments depending on what sort of cancer they are, where exactly in the stomach or oesophagus they are located, and how far they have spread. Before you commence treatment, it is vital that you undergo a series of tests to work all this out as it will determine exactly which treatment is best for you.
Initial tests that may be arranged:
CT scan. Almost all patients will undergo a CT scan to determine the size and location of the cancer.
PET scan. A PET scan is a highly specialized nuclear medicine scan which can help determine if the tumour is localised to one spot, or if it has spread. Depending on what your other tests show, a lot of patients with oesophageal cancer will require this scan
Staging laparoscopy. A staging laparoscopy is a key hole operation to have a look at your stomach from the inside. It is a day surgery operation, and can provide extra information particularly in stomach cancer cases that sometimes won't show up on other scans.
Echocardiogram (heart ultrasound), blood tests and lung function testing. Some treatments for oesophageal cancer are very demanding on your body, and determining the health of your heart and lungs before you start treatment is often useful.
Endoscopy. If you have an earlier or smaller cancer, you may be referred for a specialised endoscopy. This may include an endoscopic ultrasound to look at how far through the wall of the oesophagus the tumour has spread, or an endoscopic resection where the endoscope can remove part or all of very small cancers to treat or to get further information.
With this information Dr Hamer will have a discussion with you about the likelihood of being able to cure your cancer, and which treatment will be best for you. Often your best treatment will not be just one treatment, but a combination of things to optimize your treatment. Your case will be discussed at a multidisciplinary meeting, a meeting where Dr Hamer will discuss your treatment with other specialists, including chemotherapy doctors (medical oncologists), radiotherapy doctors (radiation oncologists), pathologists (the specialists who analyze biopsies of your cancer or the cancer itself if it is removed) and radiologists (specialists responsible for interpreting the scans you have undergone).