Esophageal Cancer Treatment
Esophageal cancer is now made treatable through advanced technology treatments. While the options are many, the treatment plan given to you would depend upon the stage of cancer you are in and how far cancer has spread in your body. Your overall health will also matter when it comes to choosing from the treatment options.
While certain cases can be treated with endoscopic treatments, others may require esophagectomy, where a part of the esophagus would have to be removed. In some cases, chemoradiation may be advised instead of surgery. Follow-up cure will be however recommended to make sure there are no recurrences.
Esophageal Cancer Stages & Treatments
The treatment of esophageal cancer is generally based on certain factors like the stage, the way in which it has spread in the body and the overall health of the patient.
Stage O: At this stage, a patient may have certain abnormal cells that are known as high-grade dysplasia, within the inner lining of the esophagus (epithelium). Although these cells appear like cancer cells, they are not actually so. Such stages are generally diagnosed when a person with Barrett’s esophagus comes for a routine biopsy.
At this stage, the treatment plan would include endoscopic treatments such as:
- photodynamic therapy (PDT)
- radiofrequency ablation (RFA)
- endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR)
Follow-up care may be advised to make sure there are no pre-cancerous or cancerous cells in the esophagus. An alternative would be to go for esophagectomy, which is a surgery that removes the abnormal part of the esophagus. Although this is a major operation, you will not need lifelong follow-up after this.
Stage I: This stage involves the spreading of cancerous cells to the deeper layers of the esophageal wall. However, they may not have spread to the lymph nodes and the other organs. There are two types of cancers here – T1 and T2.
T1 Cancer: T1 cancers may be detected in a small area of mucosa at initial stages. As they may not have spread to the submucosa, these can be treated with EMR. This would be followed by an endoscopic procedure to make sure there are no more abnormal areas of the esophageal lining. If the overall health of the patient is good, the doctor may advise esophagectomy followed by chemoradiation (a combination of chemotherapy and radiation)
T2 cancer: In the T2 type of cancer, cancer would have spread to the muscularispropria.
- If the tumor is small it can be treated with surgery.
- For larger tumors, chemoradiation may have to be administered before the surgery, especially if the cancer is near the stomach.
- If the upper part of the esophagus is affected by cancer, chemoradiation becomes the primary treatment instead of surgery.
- In case the cancer is detected as HER2 positive, radiation would be done away with and a targeted drug called Herceptin or trastuzumab may be administered along with chemo.
- In case a patient cannot undergo surgery at this stage, cancer could be treated through procedures such as EMR, endoscopic ablation, and chemoradiation.
Although stage 1 esophageal cancer can be cured completely through treatment, a close follow-up with endoscopy may be required to rule out any signs of recurrence or relapse.
Stages II and III: Cancers that may have spread into the primary muscle layer or the connective tissue that can be seen outside the esophagus, re generally referred to as Stage II cancers. At times they may even have spread to a couple of lymph nodes that surround the esophagus. If it spreads to all the nearby lymph nodes, tissues, and organs and grows well into the esophageal wall up to its outer layer, it can be Stage III cancer. Nevertheless, the treatment options for both these cancers are as follows:
- Patients who may otherwise be healthy would be advised to go for chemoradiation, which is then followed by surgery.
- If the patient has adenocarcinoma at the gastroesophageal junction (the place where the stomach and esophagus meet), the treatment plan would include chemo followed by surgery (without radiation).
- Cancers in the upper part of the esophagus are usually treated with chemoradiation alone, in which case follow-up with endoscopy is a must.
- Chemoradiation is also advised for those who have serious health problems and cannot undergo surgery.
Stage IV: Esophageal cancer at Stage IV would mean cancer that has spread to even the distant lymph nodes and organs. Surgery is not usually advised in such cases as cancer cannot be cured completely. The treatment is generally aimed at keeping the growth of cancer under control and relieving the symptoms.
- Chemo is usually the main treatment here that will help in relieving symptoms and increasing the lifespan of the patients.
- If the patient is finding it painful or difficult to swallow, he/she may be advised radiation therapy or any other treatment that can help in relieving the pain.
- If the starting point of cancer was the GE or gastroesophageal junction, a targeted drug called Cyramza or ramucirumab may be advised either as a standalone treatment or along with chemo.
Some patients may prefer palliative therapy, wherein no harsh treatments are given. The patients only receive those treatments that help them feel comfortable while improving their quality of life.
Side effects & Risks
The side effects of Esophageal cancer treatment surgery may include bleeding, infection, swelling or leakage. If the patient has been advised to undergo chemoradiation, he/she may face side effects such as:
- Hair loss
- Skin irritation
- Pain or difficulty while swallowing food
Nevertheless, these side effects are of a temporary nature and will disappear within a few days.
Preparation for esophageal cancer treatment
Esophageal cancer treatment could be a long one especially if you are not at an early stage of esophageal cancer. You may have to prepare yourself mentally and physically to endure the effects of the treatment.
Make sure you inform your doctor about any illnesses or ailments you may have, the medications you are on and about any allergies you may have to any particular medication. You may have to quit smoking and stop the consumption of alcohol and very hot beverages.
A physical examination may be conducted which might include:
- Blood test
- Urine test
What to expect after esophageal cancer treatment?
Those who have been lucky enough to get themselves diagnosed in the early stages of esophageal cancer get to reap the complete benefits of esophageal cancer treatment.The rest may require a little more time to recover.
Proper follow- up care is very essential to make sure cancer does not recur. You may have to get yourself examined regularly so as to monitor your condition. Adding fresh vegetables and fruits to your diet, quitting smoking and drinking, stopping the consumption of red meat are all some of the things that can help you in controlling your esophageal cancer.
Esophageal cancer may not be cured completely unless you were diagnosed in the very early stages. However, with proper follow-ups and some lifestyle changes, you can find relief from the symptoms and control the recurrence of your cancer. You may require adequate rest before you can lead a normal life.
Develop a positive attitude to defeat this difficult phase of life. Find out more about esophageal cancer treatments by consulting a specialist right away.
Treatment Possible Care
At Treatment Possible, our main objective is to provide the best options for Esophageal cancer treatment in India at the lowest cost. Thus, we recognize the significance of excellent health and well being of our guests by preferring association with Top Esophageal Cancer Surgeons and Best Hospital for Esophageal cancer treatment in India. We encourage you to educate yourself about Esophageal cancer treatment, procedure, cost of treatment in India and then make an informed decision. An individually allocated case manager takes personalized interest to design a tailor-made treatment plan for every guest and provide with a specific time, cost of the Esophageal cancer treatment in India.
For an early response from a case manager, Medical History and Diagnostic Reports can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. About almost for a decade, Treatment Possible has been involved in guiding patients for appropriate and so assures you with wonderful experience along with Expertise of Medical Tourism in India. Treatment Possible invites you for a Free Consultation with chosen Top Esophageal Cancer specialists in India with the assurance of hassle-free arrangements for examinations, procedures, recovery, travel and stay.
Cost of Cancer Treatment
Due to our long-standing association, we are able to ensure lowest treatment cost for our patients for cancer diagnosis and treatment. We ensure treatment through most advanced LINAC i.e. TrueBeam. At the same time, our rates are lowest in India.
- Cost of PET Scan is USD 200
- Any Cancer Surgery will be provided within USD 4500 - 6000
- Chemotherapy per cycle: USD 450
- Radiation Treatment : USD 2500 - 5000