Esophageal Cancer - Treatment

Not ready to share? Read other Patient Comments

What kinds of treatment, including radiation or chemotherapy, did you receive for esophageal cancer?

Share your story with others:

MedicineNet appreciates your comment. Your comment may be displayed on the site and will always be published anonymously.Patient Comments FAQs

Enter your Comment

Tell us a bit about your background to make your comments more useful to other MedicineNet users. (Optional)

Screen Name: *

Gender of Patient: Male Female

Age Range of Patient:

I am a: Patient Caregiver

* Screen Name will appear next to the published comment. Please do not include your full name or email address.

By submitting your comment, and other materials (collectively referred to as a "Submission") to MedicineNet, you grant MedicineNet permission to use, copy, transmit, publish, display, edit and modify your Submission in connection with its Web site. MedicineNet will not pay you for your Submission. You represent that you have all rights necessary for MedicineNet to use your Submission as set forth above.

Please keep these guidelines in mind when writing your comment:

  • Please make sure you address the question asked.
  • Due to the overwhelming number of comments received, not all comments will be published.
  • When selecting comments to publish, our staff will choose those that are educational and complement the topic. Please try to stay on topic.
  • Your comment may be edited. We would typically edit comments to make them clearer and more readable. We will remove personal information such as last names, email and web addresses, and other potentially harmful information.
  • We will not notify you if your comment has been published. We suggest that you check back on the topic article regularly.
  • We do not provide medical or healthcare advice, treatment, or diagnosis.

Thank you for participating!

I have read and agree to abide by the MedicineNet Terms and Conditions and the MedicineNet Privacy Policy (required).

To prevent our systems from spam, please complete the following prior to submitting your comment.

Please select the white square:

What are the treatment for esophageal cancer?

The approach to treatment is individualized to each patient's situation. Recommended treatments depend on the stage and health of the patient.

Esophageal cancer is often found in older patients who have other underlying illnesses which complicates treatment. Esophageal cancer is often diagnosed late in the course of the disease because symptoms often occur only after a tumor has grown and potentially spread. Most often, if the patient can tolerate it, treatment consists of a combination of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery.


The surgical procedure for esophageal cancer is removal of the esophagus (Esophagectomy = esophagus + ectomy = removal). This is often recommended for patients with stage II or III cancer. Those with stage IV cancer may not be surgical candidates because of poor prognosis. Certain patients may not be appropriate candidates for surgery because the cancer has spread to adjacent structures like the heart or lung. Some patients may not be candidates for surgery because of underlying medical illnesses, such as advanced heart or lung disease or diabetes that would increase the risk of death during or shortly after surgery.

Chemotherapy and radiation

Chemotherapy and radiation therapy may be administered prior to surgery to help shrink the tumor. There are a variety of chemotherapy protocols that may be considered but at present they are being used off label and are not FDA approved. Surgery is often delayed for 4 to 6 weeks to allow the chemotherapy and radiation to be administered.

Targeted therapy

There are specific genes that are associated with esophageal cancer. In certain circumstances, the tumor can be tested to see whether genes like HER2 are present. Targeted medications can attach or bind to different protein sites on the tumor cells and inhibit tumor growth. This is not chemotherapy which tries to kill tumor cells (and normal ones as a side effect), but rather a potential adjunct.

Endoscopic treatments

If the esophageal cancer is confined the walls of the esophagus with no spread to the lymph nodes or distant organs (stage I), surgical removal of the tumor may be accomplished via endoscopic procedure.

Return to Esophageal Cancer

See what others are saying

Comment from: Goblue, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: September 13

I have continuously been on chemo for one year due to stage 4 diagnosis. They have given me 3 different types as I had an allergic reaction to the first one after 6 months. The next one stopped working as I had trouble swallowing after being on it for 5 months. The doctor ordered radiation and chemo for 30 days. I am currently not on anything as PET showed cancer only in the tumor and it had shrunk significantly. I will see the doctor in 3 weeks and we'll see what that brings.

Was this comment helpful?Yes
Comment from: yellowroses, 55-64 Male (Caregiver) Published: October 15

My husband was immediately put on daily radiation for 6 weeks targeting the tumor, and also two one-week treatments of chemotherapy, 3 weeks apart. He would get an 8 hour infusion on a Monday at cancer center and then wear a pump around his waist that would infuse 24 hours a day and wear it from Tuesday to Friday. He was able to work at his job if he felt well enough. A caution was to watch out for other peoples infections since his immune system was killed off while on treatment. He avoided large crowds and basically just kept around the house when not working. He is done with treatment and waiting for surgery.

Was this comment helpful?Yes


Get the latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!