Treatments for esophageal cancer
If you have esophageal cancer, your healthcare team will create a treatment plan just for you. It will be based on your health and specific information about the cancer. When deciding which treatments to offer for esophageal cancer, your healthcare team will consider:
- the stage of the cancer
- where the tumour is in the esophagus (location)
- the type of esophageal cancer
- your overall health
- your personal preferences
Before your healthcare team decides which treatments to offer you, they will look at your overall health to see what types of treatment you can handle. They will check your lungs and heart to make sure they are working properly.
People diagnosed with esophageal cancer often have difficulty eating. Your healthcare team will check your weight and how well you have been eating. You may need nutritional supplements, a feeding tube or intravenous feeding for a few days before and after surgery to gain weight and improve your nutrition and health. You may also need antibiotics to prevent or treat infections if poor nutrition has weakened your immune system.
If you are a smoker, it's very important to quit smoking before starting treatment. Smokers have a higher risk for side effects and complications during treatment for esophageal cancer. Treatment may not work as well in smokers as it does in non-smokers.
You may be offered one or a combination of the following treatments for esophageal cancer.
American Cancer Society. Esophagus Cancer. Atlanta, GA: American Cancer Society; 2013.
Esophageal cancer treatment options. American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). Cancer.Net. Alexandria, VA.: American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO); 2013.
Baldwin, K. M. et al . Esophageal cancer treatment and management. eMedicine.com. Omaha: eMedicine, Inc; 2014.
Baldwin, K.M. et al . Esophageal cancer. eMedicine.com. Omaha: eMedicine, Inc; 2014.
BC Cancer Agency. Esophagus. Vancouver: BC Cancer Agency; 2012.
Esophageal and esophagogastric junction. BC Cancer Agency (BCCA). Cancer Management Guidelines. BC Cancer Agency; 2013.
Oesophageal cancer. Cancer Research UK. CancerHelp UK. Cancer Research UK; 2014.
National Cancer Institute. Esophageal Cancer Treatment (PDQ®) Health Professional Version. Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute; 2014.
Esophageal and esophagogastric junction cancers. National Comprehensive Cancer Network. NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology. National Comprehensive Cancer Network; 2013.