NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Esophageal Cancer, Version 1.2016
Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays to treat
cancer. The rays damage DNA. This either kills the
cancer cells or stops new cancer cells from being
made. For esophageal cancer, radiation therapy is
often given with chemotherapy. Chemotherapy may
improve how well radiation works. This combined
treatment is called chemoradiation.
herapy) is the
method used to treat esophageal cancer. This method
delivers radiation from outside your body using a
See Figure 12
. The radiation passes
through your skin and other tissue to reach the tumor.
To receive radiation therapy, you first must have
a planning (simulation) session. If some of your
stomach will be treated with radiation, do not eat a
heavy meal 3 hours beforehand. A 3D image of the
tumor will be made with a CT scan. Contrast may be
used to enhance images. Images are taken after your
body is moved into the position needed for treatment.
It is advised that you lie on your back and be kept
from moving with an immobilization device. For some
people, 4D-CT planning and other methods to control
movement may be used.
Using the scans, your treatment team will plan the
best radiation dose, number and shape of radiation
beams, and number of treatment sessions. Beams
are shaped with computer software and hardware
added to the radiation machine. Radiation beams are
aimed at the tumor with help from ink marks on the
skin or marker seeds in the tumor.
If some of your stomach will be treated with radiation,
do not eat a heavy meal 3 hours before treatment.
During treatment, you will lie on a table in the same
position as done for simulation. Devices may be used
to keep you from moving so that the radiation targets
Radiation therapy is often delivered
from a large machine. The rays
pass through skin and travel
to the tumor. Healthy tissue is
protected by using modern types of
Overview of cancer treatments Radiation therapy