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Posts: 1
Joined: Dec 2000

Hi. I'm new to this group, but I was wondering if anyone could give me some information about the effects of radiation on the esophagus? My mother has had cancer for years (at least 15+). It began as breast cancer, but has manifested in several different areas of her body. The most recent, she has developed a tumor in her throat area. The position makes it impossible to operate and she's refused chemotherapy this time. She had radiation treatment several months ago & it now appears that her esophagus has "shrunk" as a result of the treatment and scar tissue. Her doctors are attempting to dialate her esophagus, but my questions to the group are....

1. Has anyone else experienced this?
2. Is it fairly typical for the esophagus to close up as a result of radiation?
3. The feedback I"m getting is that the dialation procedure may not work. If not, they are recommeding a feeding tube. Is this the only alternative? She lives in rural eastern Kentucky, so I'm wondering if we might find a better solution outside of her area. I hate to think of a feeding tube as a final solution. She's already lost quite a bit of weight from this.

Any advice would be appreciated.


Posts: 4
Joined: Jul 2001

Has anyone given you any suggestions. I am also new to this group and not familiar yet with the process. My bestfriend has just been diagnosed. I am trying to learn what I can about this terrible disease. She is only 43 and was diagnosed this month.

Posts: 3
Joined: May 2012

Hi, I am a 9 yr survivor. I had a laryngectomy amoung other things, nodes removed etc. My throat started closing several months before surgery so as soon as the cancer was removed and even before radiation we started the dilations. When it started my throat was the size of one side of a coffee straw. I go to Moffitt Cancer Ctr in Tampa Fl. We did a dilation every week for about 30 weeks. Then every month, etc until now I only go when I cannot take my thyroid pill. (about every 5 months) The largest they have been able to dilate is just a little bit smaller than my little finger. I can live with that. Its not easy and I never know when I am going to have problems so eating out can be an adventure. Lots of liquid. I find milk is the best for shoving the food down. I was on a feeding tube for 22 months while getting the dilations in the beginning, and it helped me get healthy. Radiation damage is still working on my throat. I will always have to have dilations. There are so many worse things than a feeding tube. And I say that even though I was very allergic to the tube itself. I would request one before she gets weaker and keep it there until the dilations work. Boost, Ensure, etc can be used to help her keep up her strength. I used the tube to take all meds and anything that tasted bad. It was not long before I could swallow thin liquids and that was a wonderful day. Good luck, take the next 5 minutes if a day at a time is too much to consider. Ask me anything you need to ... I will always answer as honestly as I can. In 9 yrs about everything that can go wrong has and I am still here.

Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8286
Joined: Sep 2009

Wanted to welcome you....

I'm in lakeland, Fl. had my treatments at Watson Center for Cancer Care & Research (also affilliated with Moffitt in Tampa)...

BTW, just as an FYI, the most recent post to this thread (other than yours and mine to you), was in 2001.


longtermsurvivor's picture
Posts: 1845
Joined: Mar 2010

we'll answer anyway:)

Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8286
Joined: Sep 2009

Was there one...LOL

Tim6003's picture
Posts: 1508
Joined: Nov 2011

Glad you posted. Hope you will post more often to share your experiences for us newbies!



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