- How is cancer of the esophagus treated?
- Surgery for cancer of the esophagus
- Radiation therapy for cancer of the esophagus
- Chemotherapy for cancer of the esophagus
- Targeted therapy for cancer of the esophagus
- Endoscopic treatments for cancer of the esophagus
- Clinical trials for cancer of the esophagus
- Complementary and alternative therapies for cancer of the esophagus
- Treating cancer of the esophagus by stage
- Recurrent cancer of the esophagus
- Palliative therapy for cancer of the esophagus
- More treatment information about cancer of the esophagus
Recurrent cancer of the esophagus
When a cancer comes back after treatment, it is called recurrent or relapsed cancer. Cancer that comes back in or near where it started is called a local recurrence. If it comes back in distant organs or tissues (such as the liver), it is called a distant recurrence. Treatment of recurrent esophageal cancer depends on where it comes back, as well as how it was treated the first time.
If the cancer was initially treated endoscopically (with endoscopic mucosal resection or photodynamic therapy), it most often comes back in the esophagus. This type of recurrence is often treated by removing the esophagus. If the patient isn't healthy enough for surgery, the cancer may be treated with chemotherapy, radiation, or both.
If cancer recurs locally after surgery (such as in nearby lymph nodes), radiation and/or chemotherapy may be used. Radiation may not be an option if it was already given as part of the initial treatment. When chemotherapy was given before, it is usually still possible to give more chemotherapy. Sometimes the same drugs that were used before are given again, but often other drugs are used.
Esophageal cancer that recurs in distant parts of the body is treated like a stage IV cancer (see "Treating cancer of the esophagus by stage" for more details). Palliative treatments (see next section) are used as needed.
Last Medical Review: 12/10/2012
Last Revised: 01/18/2013