Esophageal cancer treatment

Esophageal cancer treatment

Is esophageal cancer curable if caught early?

Is esophageal cancer treatable?

Is stage 3 esophageal cancer curable?

Is esophageal cancer terminal?

 

Esophageal cancer treatment in Iran

What treatments you receive for esophageal cancer are based on the type of cells involved in your cancer, your cancer's stage, your overall health and your preferences for treatment.

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Esophageal cancer surgery

Surgery to remove the cancer can be used alone or in combination with other treatments. Operations used to treat esophageal cancer include:

  • Surgery to remove very small tumors. If your cancer is very small, confined to the superficial layers of your esophagus and hasn't spread, your surgeon may recommend removing the cancer and margin of healthy tissue that surrounds it. Surgery can be done using an endoscope passed down your throat and into your esophagus.
  • Surgery to remove a portion of the esophagus (esophagectomy). During esophagectomy, your surgeon removes the portion of your esophagus that contains the tumor, along with a portion of the upper part of your stomach, and nearby lymph nodes. The remaining esophagus is reconnected to your stomach. Usually this is done by pulling the stomach up to meet the remaining esophagus.
  • Surgery to remove part of your esophagus and the upper portion of your stomach (esophagogastrectomy). During esophagogastrectomy, your surgeon removes part of your esophagus, nearby lymph nodes and a larger part of your stomach. The remainder of your stomach is then pulled up and reattached to your esophagus. If necessary, part of your colon is used to help join the two.

Esophageal cancer surgery carries a risk of serious complications, such as infection, bleeding and leakage from the area where the remaining esophagus is reattached to the stomach.

Surgery to remove your esophagus can be performed as an open procedure using large incisions or with special surgical tools inserted through several small incisions in your skin (laparoscopically). How your surgery is performed depends on your individual situation and your surgeon's particular approach to managing it.

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Treatments for complications

Esophageal stent

Treatments for esophageal obstruction and difficulty swallowing (dysphagia) can include:

  • Relieving esophageal obstruction. If your esophageal cancer has narrowed your esophagus, a surgeon may use an endoscope and special tools to place a metal tube (stent) to hold the esophagus open. Other options include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, laser therapy and photodynamic therapy.
  • Providing nutrition. Your doctor may recommend a feeding tube if you're having trouble swallowing or if you're having esophagus surgery. A feeding tube allows nutrition to be delivered directly to your stomach or small intestine, giving your esophagus time to heal after cancer treatment.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is drug treatment that uses chemicals to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy drugs are typically used before (neoadjuvant) or after (adjuvant) surgery in people with esophageal cancer. Chemotherapy can also be combined with radiation therapy. In people with advanced cancer that has spread beyond the esophagus, chemotherapy may be used alone to help relieve signs and symptoms caused by the cancer.

The chemotherapy side effects that you experience depend on which chemotherapy drugs you receive.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy uses high-powered X-ray beams to kill cancer cells. Radiation typically will come from a machine outside your body that aims the beams at your cancer (external beam radiation). Or, less commonly, radiation can be placed inside your body near the cancer (brachytherapy).

Radiation therapy is most often combined with chemotherapy in people with esophageal cancer. It's typically used before surgery, or occasionally after surgery. Radiation therapy is also used to relieve complications of advanced esophageal cancer, such as when a tumor grows large enough to stop food from passing to your stomach. Treatment can last from two to six weeks of daily radiation treatments.

Side effects of radiation to the esophagus include sunburn-like skin reactions, painful or difficult swallowing, and accidental damage to nearby organs, such as the lungs and heart.

Combined chemotherapy and radiation

Combining chemotherapy and radiation therapy may enhance the effectiveness of each treatment. Combined chemotherapy and radiation may be the only treatment you receive, or combined therapy can be used before surgery. But combining chemotherapy and radiation treatments increases the likelihood and severity of side effects.

Alternative medicine

Complementary and alternative therapies may help you cope with the side effects of cancer and cancer treatment. For instance, people with esophageal cancer may experience pain caused by cancer treatment or by a growing tumor. Your doctor can work to control your pain by treating the cause or with medications. Still, pain may persist, and complementary and alternative therapies may help you cope.

Options include:

  • Acupuncture
  • Guided imagery
  • Massage
  • Relaxation techniques

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Is esophageal cancer curable if caught early?

Is esophageal cancer treatable?

In most cases, esophageal cancer is a treatable disease, but it is rarely curable. The overall 5-year survival rate in patients amenable to definitive treatment ranges from 5% to 30%. The occasional patient with very early disease has a better chance of survival. Patients with stage I esophageal cancer can be treated with curative intent using either surgery or chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Currently, the chemotherapy and radiation therapy approach is usually reserved for patients who cannot tolerate surgery.

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Is stage 3 esophageal cancer curable?

Stage III esophageal cancer invades through the wall of the esophagus and has spread to the lymph nodes and/or invaded adjacent structures.

Some patients with stage III esophageal cancer with extensive local and lymph node spread cannot be treated with surgery and are often included in clinical trials along with patients with metastatic stage IV esophageal cancer to evaluate new chemotherapy regimens.

Patients with stage II - III esophageal cancer can be treated with curative intent using either a primary surgical or a primary combined chemotherapy and radiation therapy approach. However, combined chemotherapy and radiation therapy is usually reserved for patients who are not able or do not wish to undergo major surgery.

The 3-year survival rate was 32% for patients receiving combined therapy and 6% for patients receiving surgery alone. This clinical trial, in addition to the previous one, suggests that combined modality treatment appears superior to treatment with surgery alone for stage III esophageal cancer.

Is esophageal cancer terminal?

Terminal cancer refers to cancer that can’t be cured or treated. It’s sometimes also called end-stage cancer. Any type of cancer can become terminal cancer.

Terminal cancer is different from advanced cancer. Like terminal cancer, advanced cancer isn’t curable. But it does respond to treatment, which may slow down its progression. Terminal cancer doesn’t respond to treatment. As a result, treating terminal cancer focuses on making someone as comfortable as possible.

A stage III esophageal cancer tumor has grown beyond the esophagus and may now extend into nearby tissues or organs. The cancer may or may not have spread to nearby lymph nodes.

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10 common questions about Esophageal cancer treatment in Iran

1How curable is cancer of the esophagus?
Prognostic Factors In most cases, esophageal cancer is a treatable disease, but it is rarely curable. The overall 5-year survival rate in patients amenable to definitive treatment ranges from 5% to 30%. The occasional patient with very early disease has a better chance of survival
2How long do you live after being diagnosed with esophageal cancer?
Most people with advanced oesophageal cancer live for between 3 to 12 months after their cancer is diagnosed. Around 4 out of 100 people (4%) live for 5 years or more
3Is esophageal cancer curable if caught early?
In the earliest stages, when it's easiest to treat, esophageal cancer has very few symptoms, so unfortunately it's rarely caught early. As esophageal cancer begins to progress and advance to the later stages, symptoms become more apparent, and the cancer becomes more difficult to treat
4Will I die from esophageal cancer?
Although many people with esophageal cancer will go on to die from this disease, treatment has improved and survival rates are getting better. During the 1960s and 1970s, only about 5% of patients survived at least 5 years after being diagnosed. Now, about 20% of patients survive at least 5 years after diagnosis.
5Will a chest xray show esophageal cancer?
Esophageal cancer may not show symptoms in its early stages and is most often found in men over the age of 50. Your doctor may perform a physical exam, chest x-ray, chest CT, Upper GI, esophagoscopy, endoscopic ultrasound, or PET/CT to help determine if you have cancer and if it has spread
6Can chemo cure esophageal cancer stage 4?
Currently available combination chemotherapy treatment for stage IV cancer results in complete remission in up to 20% of patients, with average survival of 8-12 months. As newer drugs, such as the taxanes, Camptosar®, and Gemzar®, are incorporated into regimens, this may continue to improve
7How painful is esophageal cancer?
Sometimes, people have pain or discomfort in the middle part of their chest. ... Swallowing may become painful if the cancer is large enough to limit the passage of food through the esophagus. Pain may be felt a few seconds after swallowing, as food or liquid reaches the tumor and has trouble getting past it.
8Is Stage 1 esophageal cancer curable?
When esophageal cancer is found very early, there is a better chance of recovery. Esophageal cancer is often in an advanced stage when it is diagnosed. At later stages, esophageal cancer can be treated but rarely can be cured
9Is esophageal cancer aggressive?
Dr. Weis: Esophageal cancer is a lethal cancer. It's a very dangerous cancer. Dr. Weis: It's aggressive, but it's also . . . tends to be very difficult to treat in a curative fashion
10Is stage 3 esophageal cancer terminal?
In this stage of the disease, there is no evidence of spread to lymph nodes or distant sites. Stage III (stage 3 esophageal cancer): A stage III esophageal cancer tumor has grown beyond the esophagus and may now extend into nearby tissues or organs.

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