Esophageal Cancer: After Treatment

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 11/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will read about your medical care after cancer treatment is finished and why this follow-up care is important. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

After treatment for esophageal cancer ends, talk with your doctor about developing a follow-up care plan. This plan may include regular physical examinations and/or medical tests to monitor your recovery for the coming months and years. ASCO offers cancer treatment summary forms to help keep track of the cancer treatment you received and develop a survivorship care plan once treatment is completed.

If the cancer is in remission, follow-up care may include CT scans and upper endoscopies (see Diagnosis) to watch for a possible recurrence.

People who have had an esophagectomy should sleep with the head of the bed elevated to avoid acid reflux, as the stomach has been surgically moved up into the chest.

People recovering from esophageal cancer are encouraged to follow established guidelines for good health, such as maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, eating a balanced diet, and having recommended cancer screening tests. Talk with your doctor to develop a plan that is best for your needs. For esophageal cancer survivors who smoke, quitting smoking can help recovery and reduce the risk of cancer recurrence. Learn more about stopping tobacco use after a cancer diagnosis.

Moderate exercise can help you rebuild your strength and energy level. Talk with your doctor about helping you create an appropriate exercise plan based upon your needs, physical abilities, and fitness level. Learn more about the next steps to take in survivorship, including making positive lifestyle changes.

The next section offers a list of questions you may want to ask. Use the menu on the side of your screen to select Questions to Ask the Doctor, or you can select another section, to continue reading this guide.