Upper Gastrointestinal (GI) research

Upper gastrointestinal cancers include oesophageal cancer and stomach cancer.

Oesophageal cancer

Oesophageal cancer is when abnormal cells in the food pipe (oesophagus) grow in an uncontrolled way. The oesophagus is also known as the gullet. It is the tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach. Most people are over the age of 60 when they are diagnosed. Around 8,900 people are diagnosed with oesophageal cancer each year in the UK. It’s become more common over the last 40 years. It’s the 14th most common cancer in adults.

The type of oesophageal cancer you have tells you the type of cell that the cancer started in. Knowing this helps your doctor decide which treatment you need.


Adenocarcinomas are cancers that develop in gland cells. These cells make mucus in the lining of the oesophagus. They mainly start in the lower part of the oesophagus and are the most common type of oesophageal cancer.

Squamous cell cancer

These cancers develop from cells that make up the inner lining of your oesophagus. They tend to develop in the upper and middle part of the oesophagus.

Squamous cells are resistant to hot liquids and sharp foods and can heal quickly if damaged. As cells are damaged new cells are made to replace them.

Undifferentiated cancers

Undifferentiated means the specialist cannot tell what type of cell your cancer started from. This is usually because the cells are not mature enough to be specialised.

Specialisation of cells is called differentiation. So these primitive cancer cells are known as undifferentiated cancer cells.

For more information about research into oesophageal cancer visit https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/oeso...

Stomach cancer

Stomach cancer is cancer that starts anywhere inside the stomach or the stomach wall. It’s also called gastric cancer. Stomach cancer is more common in men than women. More than 5 out of 10 cases (50%) occur in people aged 75 or over. Around 6,700 people are diagnosed with stomach cancer in the UK each year. That’s 18 cases diagnosed every day. The number of people in the UK diagnosed with stomach cancer has been falling for the last 10 years.

There are several different types of stomach cancers including:

  • Adenocarcinoma
  • lymphoma
  • gastrointestinal stromal tumour (GIST)
  • neuroendocrine tumours
  • leiomyosarcoma
  • squamous cell cancer

At CCC we are currently doing research into gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GIST) that have progressed following initial treatment. A GIST is a rare type of sarcoma found in the digestive system, most often in the wall of the stomach

For more information about stomach cancer research visit https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/stom...