Eight cases of primary duodenal carcinoma in a district general hospital are presented. The cases highlight the advanced state of the disease at presentation, the difficulty in diagnosis, and its poor prognosis. Duodenal carcinoma occurs in both sexes worldwide with no predisposing factors in the majority of cases. There is an increased risk in patients with familial adenomatous polyposis and adenomas of the duodenum. Duodenal carcinoma occurs about 22 years from the diagnosis of familial adenomatous polyposis in about 2% of patients, forming over 50% of upper gastrointestinal cancers occurring in these patients. Carcinomatous changes occur in 30 to 60% of duodenal villous adenomas and much less in tubulo-villous and tubular adenomas. These categories of patients should be screened and adequately followed up. Aggressive and radical surgery, even in the presence of locally advanced disease and lymph node involvement, gives a better outcome. When curative surgery is not possible, chemotherapy must accompany palliation with or without radiotherapy. Pre-operative chemotherapy may facilitate a curative radical resection. The general five-year survival is 17-33% but some centres have achieved a five-year survival of 40-60% with aggressive management of these patients.
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