Esophageal Cancer Treatment

Patients who have localized disease are candidates for surgery; however, patients with systemic metastases are clearly not surgical candidates.

The treatment course and patient prognosis depends, to a great extent, on the cancer's stage. PET/CT is a very useful tool for staging the presence or absence of systemic metastases of esophageal carcinoma.

Chemotherapy has an important role in esophageal cancer. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy, a drug treatment given to people with cancer prior to surgery or radiotherapy, may be used in some cases. Patients responding to neoadjuvant therapy, which may also include radiation therapy, may then go to surgery and have a better prognosis than those who do not respond well to the treatment.

A PET/CT scan can show where tumor cells are growing, which helps physicians determine the best course of treatment.