Oesophageal Cancer

What is Oesophageal cancer?

Oesophageal cancer is a type of cancer affecting the food pipe. It is relatively common (affecting roughly 1 in 50 men and 1 in 100 men) and is more common in those aged 60+.

The exact cause of Oesophageal cancer is unknown, but people with persistent  are at higher risk of Oesophageal Cancer.

Lifestyle changes may help reduce a person’s risk of Oesophageal cancer. These include stopping smoking, cutting down alcohol and losing weight.

Dr Rehan Haidry has expertise in disorders of the upper gastrointestinal tract, with a particular interest in Barrett’s Oesophagus and Oesophageal Cancer. A large proportion of his research efforts are focused on different aspects of the diagnosis and treatment of Oesophageal Cancer.

Diagnosing Oesophageal cancer

The symptoms that people with Oesophageal cancer report are generally similar to other conditions which affect the food pipe. Symptoms of oesophageal cancer can include:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Heartburn on most days
  • Persistent indigestion or pain/discomfort in the tummy, chest or back
  • Bringing up food soon after eating
  • Loss of appetite or weight loss
  • Unusual coughing
  • Hoarseness or a persistent sore throat
  • Pressure in the chest


For the majority of people their symptoms won’t be caused by cancer, but it is important to get them checked out so Oesophageal cancer can either be ruled out or spotted while still in the early stages. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should make an appointment with their GP and if required, get a referral to a gastroenterologist for further tests.

There is now a much quicker way to check the health of the oesophagus, called Endosign. This 10 minute diagnostic test can be done in the doctor’s office, without the need for sedation. It takes a comprehensive sample of cells is sent to the lab for testing to detect pre-cancerous cells.

Alternatively a person may have a gastroscopy (a camera down the throat test) which allows the doctor to see inside your oesophagus and stomach. Biopsies may be taken for analysis so a diagnosis can be made.

Technology has made huge advances in recent years and now artificial intelligence can play a crucial role in identifying Oesophageal cancer. CADU is a computer technology available at Cleveland Clinic which can spot the signs of ‘pre cancer’ in the food pipe, meaning even the earliest stage cancers are not missed.

Types of Oesophageal cancer

The prognosis for patients with Oesophageal Cancer treatment is highly dependent on the type of disease diagnosed:

  • Pre-cancerous – Barrett’s Oesophagus is a condition which puts patients at a higher risk of developing cancer, which is why it’s known as a pre-cancerous condition. Many people with Barrett’s will not go on to develop cancer, but will need to be closely monitored for any harmful cell changes (via regular screening endoscopies). This is so treatment can begin quickly if needed (with techniques like Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) or Cryoablation)
  • Cancerous – there are two main types of Oesophageal Cancer:
    • Adenocarcinoma – this usually occurs in the lower oesophagus and is linked to Barrette’s oesophagus
    • Squamous cell carcinoma – this usually occurs in the upper oesophagus and is closely linked to smoking and alcohol consumption

Once the patient’s oesophageal cancer is confirmed it will be staged and their doctor will be able to discuss if current treatments available can cure the disease.

Treating Oesophageal cancer

The fear and worry around any cancer diagnosis is completely understandable, but patients can feel safe in the care of Dr Rehan Haidry one of the country’s leading experts in Oesophageal cancer. Dr Rehan Haidry has expertise in both curative and/or quality of life extending treatments, as well as management plans for addressing side effects of advanced disease. His focus will always offer an individualised patient plan that offers positive outcomes for patients and their families.

Treatment for curable cancer:

  • If Oesophageal cancer is caught early, it can be cured. The earliest stage tumours can be removed using pioneering endoscopic ablation procedures (RFA and Cryoablation) where Dr Haidry has particular expertise, being the first doctor in the UK to perform these techniques
  • Where there is Oesophageal Adenocarcinoma (OAC) present, Dr Haidry can offer two treatments which target the cancerous calls without the need for major surgical intervention. Depending on the stage of the condition, patients can be offered Endoscopic Mucosal Resection (EMR) or Endoscopic Submucosal Dissection (ESD). Both are minimally invasive – performed via a ‘camera down the throat’ – meaning no incisions are made through the throat or abdomen. Patients may need more than one endoscopic treatment, to completely remove cancerous tissues, but the procedure is less risky than surgery and has a quicker recovery period
  • In more advanced stages further surgical intervention may be considered such as removal of multiple tumours, lymph nodes and surrounding tissue to remove any risk of the cancer spreading. The surgery will also repair the digestive tract to allow it to function as effectively as possible
  • Squamous cell cancer of the oesophagus is usually very responsive to combined therapies that include endoscopic or surgical removal of cancerous tissues combined with radiotherapy and chemotherapy

Treatment of Advanced and Incurable Cancer

  • Dr Rehan Haidry is an experienced Consultant Gastroenterologist who has supported and treated many patients with advanced stage Oesophageal cancer. Therapies may include a range of different treatments, such as laser treatment, placement of oesophageal stents to help with swallowing difficulties (or no treatment, depending entirely on the individual circumstances).

Get In Touch

For any enquiries about conditions, tests or treatments, please feel free to call Dr Rehan Haidry’s medical secretary Debra Hyams on:

Tel: 0203 423 7609  |  Email: rhaidrymedsec@ccf.org