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Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Esophageal Cancer

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February 12, 2018 0 55 3 minutes, 47 seconds read
Kaushal Yadav - Max Hospital
Consultant – Surgical Oncology
Cancer Care / Oncology, Breast Cancer, Gastrointestinal Oncology, Gynecologic Oncology, Hematology Oncology, Head & Neck Oncology, Musculoskeletal Surgical Oncology, Musculoskeletal Oncology, Neuro Oncology, Thoracic Oncology, Surgical Gastroenterology, Surgical Oncology, Urology Oncology

Getting diagnosed with cancer is terrifying and certainly a major setback. Life with cancer becomes both mentally and physically tough. It is like a formidable journey that one would never want to take. However, after the diagnosis, choosing the best cancer hospital in India for the treatment should be the first step towards a successful treatment. In addition, asking the doctor about every question that pops up in your head (no matter how irrelevant you think it is) is important.

Here Are The Questions That Can Be Asked After Esophageal Cancer Is Diagnosed

What are the different types of common oesophageal cancers?

The diagnosis of cancer may have turned your world upside down both mentally and physically. Your consulting doctor is one of the most valuable sources of support during this tough time and will surely help you cope with the diagnosis. The most common types of oesophagal cancers include Squamous Cell Carcinoma and Adenocarcinoma.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma – Squamous cells line the surface of the oesophagus and are thin and flat in nature. Squamous Cell Carcinoma affects the squamous cells and mostly affects the upper and middle portions of the oesophagus.

Adenocarcinoma – This type begins in the mucus-secreting glands and often affects the lower portion of the oesophagus, near the stomach. Other rare forms of oesophagal cancer include melanoma, carcinoma, lymphoma, sarcoma and choriocarcinoma.

How is stage of food-pipe cancer defined?

Your doctor will advise the treatment according to the stage in which the cancer is detected. They will conduct a few diagnostic tests to evaluate the stage and develop a personalized treatment plan. The TNM system is commonly accepted method to define the stages of oesophagal cancer.

(T)UMOR – the size of the tumor

(N)ODE – whether the cancer is present in lymph nodes

(M)ETASTSIS – whether the cancer has spread to other parts and organs of the body

What are your treatment options?

After the diagnosis of esophagal cancer, asking the doctor about the treatment options that will work well in your condition will help you make the right decision. The types of treatment options for oesophagal cancer include surgery, radiation therapy, endoscopic treatments, chemotherapy, targeted therapy and immunotherapy.

What are the potential side effects of the advised treatment?

The earlier you know about the side effects, the better it will be for you to prepare for any side effects. Remember, side effects vary from individual to individual and depend on the type of treatment given. Your doctor will guide you well about the possible side-effects and may also ask you to keep a tab on few things like:

  • The duration of the side-effect
  • What impact did it make while carrying out everyday tasks?
  • How strong or severe it was (in situations like pain)?

Is there any lifestyle modification that you need to make?

It is imperative to ask your doctor about the lifestyle modifications that are required post diagnosis of cancer. If you are an active smoker, the doctor may ask you to keep away from smoking for a fruitful treatment. Furthermore, the doctor will ask you to quit alcohol as well. Quitting can significantly help the treatment work better. It will also diminish the chances of development of any other cancer.

Will there be any diet modification that you will need to follow?

Asking about your diet before and after the treatment is quite important. Ask your doctor if they have a registered dietician (RD) who will help you eat right. There are dieticians who work closely with the doctors to advise the patients about the diet they need to take. Thus, it is important to choose the best cancer hospital in India for your oesophagal cancer treatment. We at Max Healthcare, not only have a panel of highly-qualified doctors but also a team of RDs in all our network hospitals.

After the treatment, when will you be able to lead a normal life?

If the doctor has advised surgical removal of the cancer cells, you might have to be in the hospital under observation for 2-3 days after the surgery. Talk to your doctor about the number of days you will have to be in the hospital. Will there be any changes in the food habits or any precaution that you need to take? Having a clear idea about everything will help you recover well.

Talking openly to the consulting doctor about your condition and treatment is essential. If you feel any distress after or during the treatment, do not wait for the follow-up date; bring this to your doctor’s notice immediately. 

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