NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Esophageal Cancer, Version 1.2016
Overview of cancer treatments Radiation therapy
You will be alone while the technician operates the
machine from a nearby room. He or she will be able
to see, hear, and speak with you at all times. As
treatment is given, you may hear noises. One session
can take less than 10 minutes.
There are multiple types of EBRT. For esophageal
cancer, 3D-CRT (
radiation therapy) is strongly advised. In 3D-CRT, the
radiation beams match the shape of your tumor to
avoid healthy tissues.
Sometimes vital organs may be within the field of the
radiation beam even if 3D-CRT is used. Vital organs
include the heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys. In these
cases, IMRT (
may be used. IMRT is a more precise type of 3D-CRT
that may be used to avoid giving too much radiation to
vital organs. The radiation beam is divided into smaller
beams, and the strength of each beam can vary.
Side effects of radiation
Radiation therapy is likely to cause changes in your
skin. Skin that was exposed to radiation will look and
feel as if it has been sunburned. It will likely become
red and may also become dry, sore, and feel painful
Radiation therapy may also cause pain in your throat,
stomach, or intestine. Other reactions may include
extreme tiredness despite sleep (fatigue) and loss of
Not all side effects of radiation therapy are listed here.
Please ask your treatment team for a complete list of
common and rare side effects. If a side effect bothers
you, tell your treatment team. There may be ways to
help you feel better.
edicine) is a group of treatments that
aren’t often given by doctors. There is
much interest today in CAM for cancer.
Many CAMs are being studied to see if
they are truly helpful.
Complementary medicines are treatments
given along with usual medical treatments.
While CAMs aren’t known to kill cancer
cells, they may improve your comfort and
well-being. Two examples are acupuncture
for pain management and yoga for
Alternative medicine is used in place
of usual medicine. Some alternative
medicines are sold as cures even though
they haven’t been proven to work. If
there was good proof that CAMs or other
treatments cured cancer, they would be
included in this book.
It is important to tell your treatment team
if you are using any CAMs. They can
tell you which CAMs may be helpful and
which CAMs may limit how well medical