The number of patients with scar carcinoma of the oesophagus developing on the basis of a corrosive stricture seems to have been rising in the past two decades. 36 patients of this kind were treated surgically between 1965 and 1984; this is the second largest series in the literature. The patients with scar cancer comprised 7.2% of the overall oesophageal carcinoma cases; this ratio is currently the highest of all in the literature. The interval between the caustic burn and the diagnosis of scar carcinoma was found to be 46.1 years; this is higher than the 30-35 years generally accepted so far. It was 50.9 years in those patients who drank lye before the age of 12, but 14 years less when it happened in adulthood. The long-term survival time proved to be excellent: 45.6% of the resected cases were alive after 5 years and 14.4% after 10 years. The explanation of the good prognosis lies in the fact that carcinoma developing in a lye stricture is at first surrounded by a rigid scar which allows only its intraluminal growth, and it causes early dysphagia through luminal obstruction. Early dissemination is prevented for the same reason. One-stage resection and replacement is suggested in the radically operable cases. In patients with oesophageal corrosive stricture which needs operation, both a by-pass procedure and resection can be adopted, but it should be pointed out that malignancy may develop even years after the operation in the remaining part of the gullet. Total oesophagectomy is therefore suggested instead of bypass.
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