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Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2009 Sep;21(9):996-1000. doi: 10.1097/MEG.0b013e32832948b3.

The effect of ethnicity on the presentation and management of oesophageal and gastric cancers: a UK perspective.

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City Hospital, Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, Birmingham B18 7QH, UK.



Studies show disparities in the management of oesophageal and gastric cancers between different ethnic groups. Asian patients with gastric adenocarcinoma present with less advanced disease and are more likely to undergo curative resection. For oesophageal cancer, the rate of surgery in Black patients is half that of Caucasians. However, these studies originate from the United States where demographics differ from that of the UK.


We undertook a 5-year retrospective audit of patients diagnosed with oesophageal and gastric cancers at City Hospital, Birmingham (UK), which serves three major ethnic groups: Caucasians, Blacks and Asians.


Data were extracted from 244 patients' records that included 133 gastric and 111 oesophageal cancers. Caucasians were more likely to present within 3 months of symptom onset than Asians or Blacks. Asians were less likely to be referred for urgent endoscopy than Caucasians or Blacks (P<0.05). Significant differences in reported symptoms were found between ethnic groups with Caucasians more likely to report dysphagia and less likely to describe abdominal pain than other ethnic groups. There was a lower rate of curative operation for Asians but this did not reach significance.


Ethnicity seems to influence health-seeking behaviour, with Caucasians more likely to present earlier for medical attention and Asian patients less likely to be referred for urgent endoscopy. Improvements in symptom education amongst patients and health professionals alike may accelerate referral and improve outcome. The favourable disease patterns reported in the United States 'Asians' and the lower surgery rates reported in the United States 'Blacks' are not shown in this UK population.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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