• Treatments for Esophageal Cancer

    While standard protocols have been established for the treatment of virtually all cancers, physicians will often modify them for their individual patients. These modifications are based on many factors including the patient’s age, general health, desired results, and the specific characteristics of his or her cancer. Since the treatments described in this report represent the standard therapeutic approaches, your physician may not strictly adhere to them.
    Most esophageal cancer is discovered too late to be cured. Overall, 10% of patients survive beyond five years after diagnosis. Treatment is often directed at increasing the person’s comfort and prolonging life.
    For this disease, few possible treatments come highly recommended. Most of them are grueling, painful, and marginally productive in terms of improved quality of life or extended survival. Before submitting yourself to a proposed treatment, talk with your doctor. Compare the possible benefits with the severity and risk of side effects. If at all possible, talk with patients who have undergone what you are considering.
    Existing treatment protocols have been established and continue to be modified through clinical trials. These research studies are essential to determine whether or not new treatments are both safe and effective. Since highly effective treatments for many cancers remain unknown, numerous clinical trials are always underway around the world. You may wish to ask your doctor if you should consider participating in a clinical trial. You can find out about clinical trials at the government website ClinicalTrials.gov .

    References

    Esophageal cancer. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.nci.nih.gov/cancerinfo/wyntk/esophagus . Accessed December 2, 2002.

    Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 14th ed. McGraw-Hill; 1998.

    Neoplasms of the esophagus. American Cancer Society website. Available at http://www.cancer.org/docroot/home/index.asp . Accessed November 30, 2002.

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