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Choosing between more chemo/radiation or Surgery

Posts: 4
Joined: Aug 2009

My father was diagnosed with EC in May and has already received 2 rounds of chemo and 6 weeks of radiation. Now, he has to decide whether to have surgery or go for more rounds of chemo and one more round of radiation (and if so, lose the opportunity for surgery altogether).

You can imagine this is a very, very difficult decision, and I don't know what to tell him.

He is quite reluctant to have the surgery feeling it will hinder the quality of his life.

I would love for him to speak to a real person who has been through the surgery, maybe someone about his age (late 60s) and tell him what it was like and how it has been recovering.

If there is someone willing to talk to him- that would be a load off our minds.

Also, if you want to share your experience in choosing between these options- and what made you decide to do one over the other, that would be great too, and I will certainly share your answers with him.

Thank you,


mumphy's picture
Posts: 486
Joined: Jun 2009

My husband was also diagnosed in May stage IV, he starts his second round of chemo tomarrow
after the 2nd round we hope that his tumor will have shrunk enough for him to be able to have surgery. Without the surgery they will not be able to remove the tumor and runs the chance of it spreading. My husband is 61 years old was in great health until we were told about the cancer. I don't know the exact situation or stage of your dads cancer.

I would need to know more and I am not and expert but if they can remove the tumor I say take it out. You still may run the risk of it spreading but they can always do more chemo
after the surgery. I would have the DR"S go over all of the pros and cons with me.
Hope I could help a little

Good luck.

P.S. Go to Williams site it explains alot!!

Posts: 4
Joined: Aug 2009

Hi Kathy:

Thanks for your reply. I am aware of Williams site- he is quite a prolific writer, and in fact, after I had read some of his experience, I told my dad and he wants to chat with him. Do you know how I can directly ask him a question or put my father in contact with him?

My fathers stage is II and the docs think he is a good candidate for the surgery. I wasn't aware that chemo can continue after the surgery. Oh- my father has lost 40 pounds already due to his tongue developing a bitter taste that makes all the food taste bad. But, his appetite is getting better.

The doctor my parents met with the doctor at UCSD who developed the da vinci method (minimally invasive surgery)and has done over 1000 of these (all successfully).

Thanks again for your advice.


Posts: 31
Joined: Jul 2009

Hi Cathy!

Thankyou for being so informative on your site... I Really have learned so much from this site. My brother has been diagnosed with EC stage 1V and is recieving taxol and cisplantim, may I Inquire about what chemo your husband has recieved and since my brother has responded so well to chemo, when do they consider surgery?
when he gets stronger I would like to take him to Pitsburgh. thank you for helping and its very nice to have first hand help. soo good to have been able to meet and converse with you and everyone else here.


kitten0385's picture
Posts: 278
Joined: Apr 2009

Hi Eileen!

My husband doesn't have esophageal cancer, I do. I was finished with treatments of Epirubicin, Oxiliplatin, and Xeloda at the end of may, but will be receiving new chemo starting next friday as there were tumor cells found within the fluid surrounding my organs....not in the organs though. I had surgery prior to chemo, but probably should have had pre-op chemo, but they did not know how advanced my cancer was through the scans and tests. I'm an idiot and didn't write down the chemo I will be receiving beginning next week, I know taxol is part of it, as well as irecontan(sp???). I'm glad your brother is responding well to chemo!!!


MOE58's picture
Posts: 649
Joined: May 2009


Would we choose surgery again, YOU BET!! I do have Mr. Marshall's phone number if you still want it let me know. I will also personally e-mail him and let him know you would like to talk to him, there is another one site named Chewbacca he is your fathers age and had the surgery, I will tell you surgery isn't easy but if you go in with the right attitude stating you will fight it he will do fine, My husband is only 45 and we had it done, yes I was scared to death before and during surgery it took about 6 1/2 hours for surgery, and his surgery went fine, and still is he had other problems after surgery from the chemo and attacked his lungs, so we had a little bit harder time, we have today gotten in a private room and doing much better, he was in ICU for 14 days, please go to my post and read some of the things i have posted. Please know I am a caregiver too and would be glad to help in any way.

Lori aka MOE

Posts: 4
Joined: Aug 2009

Hi Lori:

Well, I jumped the gun a bit, and apparently both my mother and father spoke to Bill (Marshall) and his wife yesterday. That helped alleviate a lot of my Dad's concerns, although he still would love to speak to someone who chose the alternative method- but he hasn't found anyone that has foregone surgery yet. Some people do not have a choice to have the surgery or not, and since he does, he would like to get an opinion from someone who has survived cancer but saved their esophagus.

I will read your posts- I'm glad your husband is doing better. He is quite young to have to go through this, but that fact may be in his favor (youth!). I think for my dad, surgery is quite scary, and the inconvienience of sleeping for the remainder of his life at a 45 degree angle is a lot to take in. If only he had a crystal ball to tell him what is the best approach.

Take care of yourself- it is tough being the one to worry about a loved one all the time.



MOE58's picture
Posts: 649
Joined: May 2009


Well I hope things go well, I hope he finds the person he wants, to talk to i haven't heard of nobody that I know of that has had the surgery but saved the esophogus heopefully you will find one. Did he like talking to the Marshall's ? I hope so.?


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