Oesophageal cancer treatment
Treatment options for oesophageal cancer include surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy, either alone or in combination. For some people, an endoscopic resection may the only treatment needed. Treatment will be tailored to your specific situation.
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Improve diet and nutrition
People with oesophageal cancer often lose a lot of weight and can become malnourished. Your doctor will usually refer you to a dietitian for advice on how to slow down the weight loss by changing your diet, taking liquid supplements or having a feeding tube. This will help improve your strength, reduce side effects, and may mean the treatment works better.
If you smoke, aim to quit before starting treatment. If you keep smoking, you may not respond as well to treatment. For support, see your doctor or call the Quitline on 13 7848.
Begin or continue an exercise program
Exercise will help build up your strength for recovery. Talk to your doctor or physiotherapist ab t the right type of exercise for you.
Endoscopic resection for oesophageal cancer
Very early-stage tumours in the lining of the oesophageal wall (mucosa) may be removed with an endoscope through endoscopic resection (ER).
This procedure is often done as a day procedure but occasionally needs an overnight stay in hospital. Preparation and recovery are similar to an endoscopy, but there is a slightly higher risk of bleeding or getting a small tear or hole in the oesophagus (perforation).
Podcast: Making Treatment Decisions
Download a PDF booklet on this topic.
Dr Spiro Raftopoulos, Gastroenterologist, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, WA; Peter Blyth, Consumer; Jeff Bull, Upper Gastrointestinal Cancer Nurse Consultant, Cancer Services, Southern Adelaide Local Health Network, SA; Mick Daws, Consumer; Dr Steven Leibman, Upper Gastrointestinal Surgeon, Royal North Shore Hospital, NSW; Prof Michael Michael, Medical Oncologist, Lower and Upper Gastrointestinal Oncology Service, and Co-Chair Neuroendocrine Unit, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Dr Andrew Oar, Radiation Oncologist, Icon Cancer Centre, Royal Brisbane Hospital, QLD; Rose Rocca, Senior Clinical Dietitian: Upper Gastrointestinal, Nutrition and Speech Pathology Department, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Letchemi Valautha, Consumer; Lesley Woods, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA.
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