Esophagus Cancer

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Talking With Your Doctor TOPICS

What should you ask your doctor about cancer of the esophagus?

It’s important for you to have honest, open discussions with your cancer care team. Don’t be afraid to ask any question, no matter how minor it might seem. Some questions to consider:

  • What kind of esophageal cancer do I have?
  • Has my cancer spread beyond where it started?
  • What is the stage of my cancer, and what does that mean?
  • Do I need other tests before we can decide on treatment?
  • Do I need to see other doctors?
  • How much experience do you have treating this type of cancer?
  • Should I get a second opinion? Can you recommend a doctor or cancer center?
  • What are my treatment choices?
  • What treatment(s) do you recommend and why?
  • What is the goal of each treatment?
  • What are the chances my cancer can be cured with these options?
  • What risks or side effects should I expect? How long are they likely to last?
  • Will treatment affect my ability to swallow or eat?
  • Will treatment affect my voice?
  • How soon do I need to start treatment?
  • What should I do to be ready for treatment?
  • How long will treatment last? What will it be like? Where will it be done?
  • What would we do if the treatment doesn’t work or if the cancer comes back?
  • What type of follow-up will I need after treatment?
  • Where can I find more information and support?

Along with these sample questions, be sure to write down some of your own. For instance, you might want more information about recovery times so you can plan your work or activity schedule. You might also want to ask about clinical trials for which you may qualify.

Keep in mind that doctors are not the only ones who can provide you with information. Other health care professionals, such as nurses and social workers, may have the answers to some of your questions. You can find more information about communicating with your health care team in our document Talking With Your Doctor.


Last Medical Review: 03/20/2014
Last Revised: 04/22/2014