After treatment for oesophageal cancer

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What follow-up do I need?

Once your treatment for cancer is over, you will need to have regular check-ups. This is called follow-up. The follow-up may involve having a physical exam, blood tests and scans. Your doctor may check if there is scarring of the oesophagus or where the surgeon has made the joining.

You can also meet with the dietitian to discuss any eating problems you might have. If your mobility has not improved or you have trouble breathing, the physiotherapist can help you.

Tell your doctor or nurse  about any eating problems or other symptoms you have, especially difficulty swallowing, or if you are finding it hard to cope.

It can help to write down what you want to say before you see the doctor, so you don’t forget what you wanted to say.

Follow-up will continue for a number of years but will become less frequent over time.

If you are between check-ups and have a symptom or problem that is worrying you, contact your doctor or specialist nurse for advice and to make an appointment, if necessary.

Your recovery

You may have symptoms and ups and downs in your recovery. This doesn’t mean you aren’t making progress.

The important thing is to get support if you are having difficulties, including medical advice from your GP or hospital team and emotional support, such as counselling. We have tips on coping with side-effects and symptoms.

What if the cancer comes back ?

If the cancer comes back (recurrent oesophageal cancer) you may have more surgery or other treatments like chemotherapy or radiotherapy, depending on where the cancer is and your general health. There may also be treatments you can have as part of a clinical trial.  Your doctor will advise you on what’s best in your situation. You might also find it reassuring to have another medical opinion. Your doctor will refer you to another specialist for a second opinion if you feel this would be helpful.

Why does cancer come back after treatment?

Unfortunately sometimes cancer does come back. This doesn’t mean that you did something wrong or that your first treatment was unsuccessful. Sometimes cancer cells remain in your body and start to grow again, although your doctors do all they can to prevent this.

Coping with a diagnosis of recurrent cancer

It can be hard to cope if you are facing cancer a second time. We have information on where to get emotional support, or you can talk to one of our cancer nurses in confidence by calling our Support Line or by visiting a Daffodil Centre. 

Feelings after treatment

It can take some time to come to terms with a cancer diagnosis, even after your treatment has ended. Read about feelings after treatment and where to get support. 

Living a healthy lifestyle

Many people want to live a healthier lifestyle after getting a cancer diagnosis. Get some advice on healthy living here.

For more information

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