Patients with throat cancer should have endoscopic ultrasound examination

Research News from British Journal of Surgery

The surgery needed to remove throat tumours is severe and often involves drawing the stomach higher into the chest cavity. Before surgeons embark on this risky procedure they need to believe that the patient has a good chance of benefiting from the operation.

Endoscopic ultrasonography is a fairly new technique, and so far there has been relatively little use of it in the UK. But a study of 150 patients with throat cancer found that using endoscopic ultrasound examinations helped doctors form a more accurate diagnosis of the status of a throat tumour than other techniques such as CT scans and tissue biopsies. The findings are published in the latest edition of the British Journal of Surgery.

“Endoscopic ultrasound should be performed in all patients because it is the most accurate preoperative method of determining surgical respectability and prognosis,” says Professor Jean-Pierre Triboulet, who carried out the study with a team of researchers in Lille, France.

The researchers believe that this technique is probably the best way of distinguishing between patients with early cancer who could be treated by surgery alone, and those with advanced cancer for whom non-surgical or neoadjuvant treatment would possibly be a better option.

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