Treatment options for esophageal cancer: how effective are they?

Studies can show how certain treatments (such as surgery) for esophageal cancer compare with other treatments or no treatment. However, individual options and prospects vary depending on the stage of cancer at diagnosis and other factors.

After being diagnosed with esophageal cancer, the odds of surviving an additional five years with treatment range from 5% to 47%, according to . National Cancer Institute.

This range reflects the difference in survival between esophageal cancer found early by doctors and when the tumor spreads to other parts of the body and becomes difficult to treat.

This article describes the available treatments for esophageal cancer and their success rates.

Note, however, that while certain treatments appear to have a higher success rate than others, many factors, such as the stage of diagnosis, can affect the treatment a doctor can offer and the expected results. please.

The goal of esophageal cancer treatment is to remove the tumor and other cancer cells or to stop the tumor from growing.

To do this, doctors can: recommended Options such as:

Here are the factors that influence the available options:

  • Types of esophageal cancer
  • stage
  • A person’s general health, age, and medical history

Local treatments target tumors in specific locations, in this case the esophagus and nearby tissues, without significantly affecting the rest of the body.

The following treatments are more likely to be effective for early-stage cancer, but doctors may recommend them for other stages as well.


Esophagectomy is a minimally invasive surgery. included The part of the esophagus that contains the tumor is removed. During esophagogastrectomy, part of the stomach and nearby lymph nodes are also removed.

Common risks of surgery include:

In rare cases, complications can be life-threatening.

Some cancers can be completely removed by surgery. People who have had surgery for esophageal cancer have, on average, the following symptoms: 30-45% They may live an additional 5 years or more compared to those who did not undergo surgery. However, this depends on the stage of the cancer.

If the tumor comes back after surgery, it usually comes back soon after surgery. If it doesn’t recur within five years, the researchers say, it’s unlikely to recur in the future.


radiotherapy Usage It uses high-energy X-rays to destroy cancer cells and stop them from growing. Treatment can be more effective when combined with chemotherapy.

In one study, the 5-year survival rate for people who received chemotherapy and radiation therapy was 20-27%compared with 0% for radiotherapy alone.

Rarely, radiation therapy can cause long-term breathing problems due to narrowing of the esophagus or damage to the chest.

Endoscopic treatment

Several Treatment options include inserting an endoscope down the throat and into the esophagus.

Endoscopic treatment is a minimally invasive treatment that can destroy and remove early-stage esophageal cancer.

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is an example of an endoscopic procedure. PDT is a type of phototherapy that can be deleted It prevents cancer in its early stages or stops cancer from developing.

Endoscopic procedures, including PDT, can also help relieve symptoms of advanced cancer that cannot be cured, for example when a tumor makes swallowing difficult.

Studies have shown that the median survival rate for people who receive PDT as palliative treatment is 34 months, but this varies depending on many factors. Survival time is 50.9 months for those who received PDT as the first treatment and 17.3 months for those who had already received other types of treatment.

Other endoscopic options include endoscopic mucosal resection and radiofrequency ablation.

Systemic treatments are treatments that affect the entire body. These come as oral or intravenous drugs that travel through the body and destroy cancer cells wherever they are.

Your doctor may recommend several approaches, depending on the type and stage of esophageal cancer.

chemical treatment

Chemotherapy treatment may be given before surgery, after surgery, or both, and may be given with radiation therapy.

chemical treatment rarely heal Esophageal cancer has the following effects:

  • get rid of cancer
  • delay or prevent recurrence
  • slow progress
  • Relieves symptoms of advanced cancer

Chemotherapy may have serious side effects. These usually go away once treatment is complete, but long-term problems such as nerve damage and hand-foot syndrome can occur.

What are some common side effects of chemotherapy?

Targeted drug therapy

Targeted drug therapy target Specific cancer genes or proteins, or the tissue environment that contributes to cancer growth and survival.

Treatment stops cancer cells from growing and spreading while limiting damage to healthy cells.

Some esophageal cancers have too much HER2 protein on the cell surface, which promotes cancer cell proliferation. Drugs such as trastuzumab that target the HER2 protein may help treat HER2-positive cancers. However, it may increase the risk of long-term problems such as heart damage.


immunotherapy boost The ability of the immune system to attack cancer cells.

Some studies suggest that immunotherapy may be more effective than chemotherapy, but more research is needed.

What is the difference between immunotherapy and chemotherapy?

Supportive or palliative care can help Manage symptoms in late-stage cancer and improve patient comfort and quality of life.

Options include:

  • pain management
  • Esophageal dilation
  • Endoscopic procedures to keep the esophagus open if swallowing is difficult

Here are answers to frequently asked questions about esophageal cancer.

Can esophageal cancer be cured?

of Overall 5-year survival rate For esophageal cancer, it is about 21%, but varies from 5.6% to 48.8% depending on the stage at diagnosis.

People diagnosed early have a 48.8% chance of surviving at least an additional 5 years after diagnosis compared to those who do not have the disease.

How curable is esophageal cancer?

Early diagnosis increases the chances of recovery. However, only around 18% of patients with esophageal cancer are diagnosed early.later stepis treatable but rarely curative.

Esophageal cancer is treatable. Those diagnosed early 48.8% People who are diagnosed later are more likely to live an additional 5 years.

Treatment options such as surgery, PDT, and radiation therapy can remove the tumor or reduce its size and stop its growth.

Other options include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and targeted therapy.

Overall, surgical treatment most effective However, many factors, such as the stage and type of esophageal cancer, influence treatment decisions and outcomes. Surgery is not suitable for everyone.

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