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Oesophagus Cancer

Oesophagus Cancer - Treatments

 
Aggressive surgery to remove the cancer provides the patient a chance of cure. The cancer is removed together with a rim of normal tissue. The rest of the oesophagus or the stomach, if there is insufficient length of oesophagus, is joined to the upper oesophagus. Surgery is not without difficulty and some patients are not fit enough for it.

Patients with oesophageal cancer confined to the oesophagus but who are not fit for surgery may receive combined chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Using both methods of therapy may cure a small group of these patients. Radiotherapy is usually given daily over a period of 5 to 6 weeks. Side effects include difficulty eating because of pain, redness of the skin, and loss of appetite. Chemotherapy may be combined with the first and fifth week of radiotherapy to make radiotherapy more effective. Treatment is associated with nausea and vomiting, mouth ulcers, hair loss, and loss of appetite. Recent studies suggest that the use of surgery combined with chemotherapy and radiotherapy may be beneficial. Proper patient selection is important.

Patients with advanced incurable oesophageal cancer involving organs other than the oesophagus are sometimes given chemotherapy alone to slow the course of the cancer. However, if the main symptom is difficulty swallowing, radiotherapy is sometimes given to enable the person to eat.

Patients with oesophageal cancer who have difficulty eating and who are not fit for surgery or radiotherapy may have a feeding device inserted directly from the skin into their stomach. Another way of bypassing the blockage caused by the cancer is to pass a metal stent into the oesophagus through the cancer. Liquids can pass through this stent into the stomach and nourish the patient.

Prognosis of Oesophageal Cancer

Clinical examinations, x-rays and pathology reports all help the medical team decide what the progress of an individual case of oesophageal cancer may be. Then, the appropriate course of treatment will be put into action. The treatment strategy will vary from person to person. With prompt and appropriate treatment, the outlook for a person with oesophageal cancer is fair.

Oesophagus Cancer - Preparing for surgery

Oesophagus Cancer - Post-surgery care

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