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Treatment of esophageal cancer

Treatment depends on the stage, the health status of the patient, and symptoms. There is no difference in treatment of squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma.

Only 20–25% of all patients with esophageal cancer are appropriate for radical surgery. For the smallest tumors and Barrett's esophagus, photodynamic therapy (PDT) may be the best choice of treatment.

For about 20–25% of all patients with inoperable localized tumors, curative oncology treatment (chemotherapy/radiation therapy) may be the best choice of treatment.

This requires:

  • good heart and lung function to complete radical surgery 
  • good kidney function to complete radical oncology treatment

Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are also used for palliative treatment. Palliation is directed for reducing pain and improving swallowing. Adequate nutrition during treatment is very important for this patient group.

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