Esophageal Cancer (cont.)
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Most people with esophageal cancer get chemotherapy. It may be used alone or with radiation therapy.
Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. The drugs for cancer of the esophagus are usually given directly into a vein (intravenously) through a thin needle.
You'll probably receive chemotherapy in a clinic or at the doctor's office. People rarely need to stay in the hospital during treatment.
The side effects depend mainly on the drugs given and amount of chemotherapy that you get. Chemotherapy kills fast-growing cancer cells, but the drugs can also harm normal cells that divide rapidly:
When radiation therapy and chemotherapy are given at the same time, the side effects may be worse.
Your health care team can suggest ways to control many of these problems. Most go away when treatment ends.
People with esophageal cancer that has spread may receive a type of treatment called targeted therapy. This treatment can block the growth and spread of esophageal cancer cells.
Targeted therapy for cancer of the esophagus is usually given intravenously. The treatment enters the bloodstream and can affect cancer cells all over the body.
During treatment, your health care team will watch you for side effects. You may get diarrhea, belly pain, heartburn, joint pain, tingling arms and legs, or heart problems. Most side effects usually go away after treatment ends.
Questions you may want to ask your doctor about chemotherapy or targeted therapy
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Esophageal Cancer - Symptoms and Signs Question: What were the symptoms and signs you experienced with esophageal cancer?
Esophageal Cancer - Prognosis and Stage Question: What is your esophageal cancer prognosis? What stage is your esophageal cancer?
Esophageal Cancer - Types Question: Do you or someone you know have adenocarcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus? Please share your story.
Esophageal Cancer - Risk Factors Question: Do you have any of the risk factors for esophageal cancer? What are they, and what are your concerns?
Esophageal Cancer - Diagnosis Question: What kinds of tests and exams led to a diagnosis of esophageal cancer?
Esophageal Cancer - Treatment Question: What kinds of treatment, including radiation or chemotherapy, did you receive for esophageal cancer?
Esophageal Cancer - Surgery Question: Please describe the surgical experience you or someone you know had for esophageal cancer.
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Esophageal Cancer - Follow-Up Care Question: What type of follow-up care did you receive for your esophageal cancer?