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Stage IV Esophageal Cancer Survival with Chemotherapy


Stage IV esophageal cancer is said to be the metastatic stage of cancer which has spread to various parts of the body from esophagus. During this stage patients are subjected to various kinds of treatments like palliative surgery, clinical trials, chemotherapy, photodynamic treatment, thermal laser therapy, esophageal dilation and esophageal prostheses or stents. Survival of patients at this stage of cancer might be prolonged if treatments are combined effectively. Even though cure might not be possible, the symptoms caused due to stage IV esophageal cancer can be controlled and in some cases relived.

The application of treatment principles can depend on the prognostic factors and on the situation that is distinct to the patient’s circumstances. Patients who are willing to participate in clinical trials might be offered accessed to new technologies and better treatments and based on the results the strategies can be used for treating cancer in future. But before participating in any of the clinical trials the patients should discuss with their doctors and know the benefits and risks. They should stay informed at all the staged to make sure that they are getting the best treatment.

Single chemotherapy medicines that are used in treating stage IV esophageal cancer like fluorouracil, mitomycin or mutamycin, ellence, doxil or doxorubicin and cisplatin or platinol can result the patients to undergo the inactive disease state. Normally chemotherapy treatment makes use of combination medicines like fluorouracil with cisplatin and mitomycin or epirubicin. The response rate on an average for this combination treatment is said to be 40% and the average chemotherapy survival duration is said to be eight to ten months.

Studies conducted recently indicate that paclitaxel or taxol and docetaxel or taxotere are very active when treating esophageal cancer. They found that remissions happening in nearly fifteen percent of esophageal cancer patients. Presently available chemotherapy survival combination treatment for stage IV esophageal cancer provides an average survival or eight to twelve months. New drugs like irinotecan, taxanes and gemcitabine are being used as part of daily regimen that the survival percentage is continuing to enhance.

Apart from chemotherapy, doctors also use various treatment modalities to extend the survival of stage IV esophageal cancer patients and their quality of life. Thermal laser treatment is one of them which destroys the cancerous cells with the help of endoscopy and might offer temporary relief from difficulty to swallow food and dysphagia. Photodynamic treatment is said to be kind of laser treatment which involves injection of photosensitizing chemicals in the bloodstream. Chemicals are absorbed by the body and when the laser is focused on the body it directly focuses the tumor.

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Written by David Hensley

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