Oesophageal cancer is a condition in which malignant (cancer) cells originate in the oesophageal tissues. There is an increased risk for having this type of cancer when factors like smoking, heavy alcohol consumption, and Barrett’s oesophagus come into play. The prognosis and treatment options are determined by the cancer’s stage, whether the tumour can be surgically removed completely, and the patient’s overall health. There is a higher probability of recovery when oesophageal cancer is detected early. Oesophageal cancer is usually discovered in its advanced stages. In such cases, the condition can be treated, but it is rarely curable.

Treatment for Oesophageal Cancer

Patients with oesophageal cancer might get a variety of treatments. Some treatments are mainstream (already in use), while others are undergoing clinical testing. A treatment clinical study aims to help patients with cancer get better treatment or learn more about potential treatment options. When clinical studies prove that a new treatment is superior to the current standard, the new treatment may be adopted as the standard. Currently, the following standard treatment types are being used.

Surgery

The most common treatment for oesophageal cancer is surgery. An oesophagectomy is a procedure that removes a portion of the oesophagus. To facilitate the patient in swallowing food, the doctor will join the remaining healthy segment of the oesophagus to the stomach. The connection could be made with a plastic tube or a section of the intestine. Lymph nodes surrounding the oesophagus may also be removed and examined under a microscope to determine if cancer is present. If the tumour has partially obstructed the oesophagus, an expandable metal stent (tube) may be put within to keep it open.

Surgical endoscopic resection can also be used to remove high-grade dysplasia and small, early-stage cancer of the oesophagus.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment that involves administering chemicals to cancer cells in order to limit their growth, either by killing them or preventing them from growing. Chemotherapy medications enter the bloodstream and can reach cancer cells all throughout the body when taken by mouth or injected into a vein or muscle (systemic chemotherapy). Chemotherapy administered directly into the cerebrospinal fluid, an organ, or a bodily cavity such as the abdomen targets cancer cells primarily in specific regions (regional chemotherapy).

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy or radiotherapy is a cancer treatment that involves the use of high-energy x-rays or other forms of radiation to kill or stop cancer cells from developing. The stage of the cancer being treated determines how radiation treatment is administered. Oesophageal cancer is treated with both external and internal radiation therapy.

Laser therapy

The cancer cells are destroyed by laser therapy. It involves the use of a powerful laser beam, which is targeted towards cancer cells. This makes it easier for you to swallow food. It’s a treatment for those who have cancer that has spread or is in its advanced stages.

For more information about the type of oesophageal cancer treatment that suits your health, contact Dr. Purnendu Bhowmik, who is considered to be the best oesophageal cancer specialist in Kolkata.