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New Diagnosis

Posts: 40
Joined: Aug 2010

Hello everybody,

I am a brand new CSN member. I was diagnosed last Tuesday with EC stage 4 which has spread to the liver. Never in a million years did I expect to contract cancer and am terrified. I am going to Mass General and have just had a PT Scan. Any words of wisdom would be helpful.



colleen B
Posts: 25
Joined: Jun 2010

If you read what I wrote under "MD Anderson and Dr. Servan-Schreiber" you will read what I recommend..which is a book by Servan Schrieber that will give you a diet that might help you as you go through chemo...and might make the cancer more sensitive to the chemicals used.

Be sure to keep eating and keep your weight up. There is a relationship between maintaining weight and survival.

This article on the internet gives some scientific research about curcumin and cancer of the esophagus

Do you have adenocarcinoma or squamous cell ?


Transl Oncol. 2010 Apr;3(2):99-108.

Curcumin promotes apoptosis, increases chemosensitivity, and inhibits nuclear factor kappaB in esophageal adenocarcinoma.
Hartojo W, Silvers AL, Thomas DG, Seder CW, Lin L, Rao H, Wang Z, Greenson JK, Giordano TJ, Orringer MB, Rehemtulla A, Bhojani MS, Beer DG, Chang AC.

Department of Surgery, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.

The transcription factor, nuclear factor kappaB (NF-kappaB), plays a central role as a key mediator of cell survival and proliferation, and its activation may confer increased tumor chemoresistance. Curcumin, an orally available naturally occurring compound, has been shown to inhibit NF-kappaB and has a potential role in cancer chemoprevention. We investigated the effects of curcumin on NF-kappaB activity, on cell viability, and as a chemosensitizing agent with 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) or cisplatin (CDDP) in esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC). Oligonucleotide microarray analysis of 46 cases, consisting of Barrett metaplasia, low-grade dysplasia, high-grade dysplasia and EAC, showed increased expression of NF-kappaB and IkappaB kinase subunits and decreased effector caspase expression in EAC compared with Barrett metaplasia. Stromal expression of both IkappaB and phospho-IkappaB was detected in several EAC samples by tissue microarray analysis. Curcumin alone inhibited NF-kappaB activity and induced apoptosis in both Flo-1 and OE33 EAC cell lines as determined by Western blot analysis, NF-kappaB reporter assays, and Caspase-Glo 3/7 assays. It also increased 5-FU- and CDDP-induced apoptosis in both cell lines. These data suggest that activation of NF-kappaB and inhibition of apoptosis may play a role in the progression from Barrett metaplasia to EAC. In addition, curcumin, a well-known inhibitor of NF-kappaB activity, was shown to increase apoptosis and enhance both 5-FU- and CDDP-mediated chemosensitivity, suggesting that it may have potential application in the therapy of patients with EAC.

PMID: 20360934 [PubMed - in process]PMCID: PMC2847317Free PMC Article

This is one of the scientific papers in a referreed journal that gives the scientific view about controlling cancer with diet. This is not a substitute for the chemo..but it can work alongside it.


"Apoptosis by dietary factors: the suicide solution for delaying cancer growth

Naghma Khan, Farrukh Afaq and Hasan Mukhtar*
Department of Dermatology, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Medical Sciences Center B-25, 1300 University Avenue, Madison, WI 53706, USA

Apoptosis, a form of programmed cell death, plays a fundamental role in the maintenance of tissues and organ systems by providing a controlled cell deletion to balanced cell proliferation. The last decade has witnessed an exponential increase in the number of studies investigating how different components of the diet interact at the molecular and cellular level to determine the fate of a cell. It is now apparent that many dietary chemopreventive agents with promise for human consumption can also preferentially inhibit the growth of tumor cells by targeting one or more signaling intermediates leading to induction of apoptosis. In this brief review, we summarize the available evidence for dietary chemopreventive substances as inducers of apoptosis in cancer cells. These emerging data suggest that some of these dietary agents especially those which humans could be persuaded to consume may be utilized in the prevention and management of cancer"

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Posts: 633
Joined: Jul 2010

Hi Paul,

My father was diagnosed March 13 with stage 4 with mets to the liver as well. He did radiation and is still doing chemo treatments. The chemo has been working extremely well. He went to get a second opinion from another doctor and she seems to think that his cancer is not originally from the esophagus at all, but from the thyroid! If she's right, it would mean a world of difference for his survival years and/or possibly beating it! Won't know more until he's done with his chemo treatments and sees a thyroid specialist.

Anyway...even if you're happy with your current doctor, it's always a good idea to get a second set of eyes to look at your pathology and read your scans! You never know what could be discovered. And although it could potentially confuse you even more and make decisions even harder to make, to have more than one road to follow and explore is always a blessing in my book!

I'll be praying for you. Keep positive and have faith!:)


colleen B
Posts: 25
Joined: Jun 2010

It took me months to figure some of this out ...so I want to give you some nutritional advice right away.

Start eating berries...blueberries, raspberries, strawberries..any kind of berry.
Eat broccoli
Eat garlic
Drink green tea

If you are having trouble with solid food then use a juicer..this is the one I use

Curcumin when it comes in contact with cancer will kill it..and your cancer is on the surface in your esophagus...so you can swallow curcumin pills and it will kill the cancer cells it comes in contact with...

The criticism of these studies is that they are done in vitro...but if it can't hurt you and it might help then I say do it...and eat carefully...try to eat organic foods...organic grass fed beef is really good tasting...

A good source for curcumin is:
America’s Finest Inc.

or here

If you have an obstructed bile duct then curcumin might cause a problem for you..but in healthy people 8 grams a day is not a problem. Talk to your doctor about curcumin...

There is a new study out that indicates fructose may encourage cancer..so avoid fructose


"Tumor cells fed both glucose and fructose used the two sugars in two different ways, the team at the University of California Los Angeles found.

They said their finding, published in the journal Cancer Research, may help explain other studies that have linked fructose intake with pancreatic cancer, one of the deadliest cancer types.

"These findings show that cancer cells can readily metabolize fructose to increase proliferation," Dr. Anthony Heaney of UCLA's Jonsson Cancer Center and colleagues wrote."

And if you do see a study that gives the 5 year survival rate and it looks low..and scares you..just remember that rate is dependent on what happened 5 years ago and we have better tools to deal with cancer today. Also you are a person and not a statistic...and that statistic might not apply to you..

Some have compared the shock of finding out that you have cancer to post traumatic stress. You are going to be stressed...but be tough : )

Servan Shreiber's book is very encouraging..it will not depress you..and it might keep your spirits up

paul61's picture
Posts: 1250
Joined: Apr 2010


When I first found out I had cancer, I was very depressed. I thought I lived a healthy life and did all the right things to stay healthy.

I spent a few days feeling depressed and powerless. Then I found people around me who had cancer and were living with it and defying the odds. So I gave myself a couple of days to have an emotional event (e.g why me???) and then decided to move on and live my life with cancer.

Fist; as most people will tell you on this site, "Ignore the statistics!!!". First they are not helpful and second they represent history and cancer research and treatment options are not standing still.

Second, get a second opinion. Cancer can be complicated and treatment options are varied. Be sure you get your second opinion from a facility that specializes in esophageal cancer.

Third tell us as much as possible about yourself,
1. Where do you live?
2. How were you diagnosed? (what symptoms did you have?)
3. What proceedures were used in your diagnosis and staging?
4. Do you have other medical conditions that may complicate your treatment?
5. How old are you?

This will help us make suggestions that are meaningful and helpful.

Fourth and most important, Stay strong, your belief in your ability to be successful in fighting cancer has a lot to do with how successful you will be.

People around you will offer to help. Take their help, don't try to do this on your own.

We will be praying for your success in getting the right treatment and beating cancer.

Best Regards,

Paul Adams
McCormick, South Carolina

DX 10/22/2009 T2N1M0
12/03/2010 Ivor Lewis
2/8 – 6/14/2010 Adjuvant Chemo Cisplatin, Epirubicin, 5 FU
6/21/2010 CT Scan NED

JaneE2366's picture
Posts: 332
Joined: Jul 2009

Hello Paul,
My husband Charlie (57 when dx)was diagnosed in March 09. Stage iv....mets to liver, lung, and peritoneal cavity. I am sorry to tell you it has not been an easy 16 months. On the bright side....he continues to amaze his drs. Charlie went through 4 agressive rounds of chemo in April, May, June, and July of last year. (He was admitted to the hospital for his treatment of Taxotere, Cisplatin, followed by 120 continuous hours of 5-FU.) Wasn't easy but after 2 rounds he had another PET and he was in remission. After he finished the 4th round, he went on an oral chemo med.....Xeloda. It is the oral equivalent to 5-FU. He also went on Herceptin. He had another good PET in Sept and his PET in January 2010 was even better. The May 2010 PET showed some activity in the esophagus and stomach. Charlie also started to have problems swallowing. So we assumed the Xeloda and Herceptin stopped working. So we started on new chemo (Taxol & Carboplatin.) Charlie goes for his 4th round on Thursday. We recently learned, through an endoscopy, that Charlie now has Barretts disease and an ulcer. So we are wondering if that was the activity we saw on the PET in May. Charlie will have another PET in 2 weeks so we will know better then.
I agree with Sherri...do research. Be agressive. Make sure you are comfortable with your dr. Get your tumor tested for HER-2. If it is positive, you may be able to get Herceptin at some point. Get a port...so much easier for treatment.
I hope you have a good caregiver. If I must say so.....we are priceless. We love the CaringBridge site....Charlie has one too. (Charlie09) It is a wonderful tool to keep your family and friends informed of what is going on. A friend set Charlie's up and I think we are approacing 30,000 visits to his site since March 09. As far as I am concerned, I figure that is at least 30,000 prayers that have been said. It has been a lifesaver...literally!!
I will add you to my prayer list.

cfight's picture
Posts: 77
Joined: Jan 2010

Hi Paul,

My father was diagnosed with Stage IV EC in December. He had total tumor reduction with his first line of chemotherapy. He also had mets to the bone in his arm which disappeared. We recently found out that it had spread to his liver. The good news is that he's responding to the second line of treatment and his tumors are shrinking! I know it's difficult to stay hopeful... at least that how I felt in the beginning. Take each day as it comes. My father's major impact from chemo was fatigue. He has better days then other. I'm not sure if you're a support group type person, but I know Mass General has one for EC. I live in Boston and was searching myself. You've found a wonderful resource on this site. Everyone is very supportive and has a lot to contribute.

Hang in there... the initial shock will subside with time. I'll keep you in my thoughts.

Posts: 31
Joined: May 2010

I hope that you are seeing Dr. David Ryan or one of his colleagues.
Don't listen to the stats and keep a positive mindset.
We are from the Boston area too. MGH is a great place for you to be.
Dr. Ryan was our second opinion and he is doing some of the newest clinical trials should you even need to think about that...
right now focus on keeping healthy and positive....my prayers are with you Paul. Its a tough battle ahead but you have alot of people here who can guide you.

unclaw2002's picture
Posts: 664
Joined: Jan 2010


I am so sorry to hear your news. Hearing those words is really hard.

My father, 78 years old, was diagnosed with Stage III esophageal cancer in December 2009. During his last PET scan in June it showed that the EC had metastasized to the liver in two spots. Although it looks like the cancer in the 1 lymph node and esophagous is gone

We are going to Sloan Kettering in New York on Thursday to get a second opinion and find out what treatment options are available at Sloan. Sloan has a department that specializes in Liver Metastases (Secondary Liver Cancer) and they do over 500 of these types of cases a year. Here is the Site http://www.mskcc.org/mskcc/html/374.cfm. Here is the link to the discussion of available treatments http://www.mskcc.org/mskcc/html/1006.cfm.

The site is very informative and provides some information it also talks about various available treatments --- even if you don’t want to travel to get treatment. Sloan was ranked the number 2 Cancer Center in the latest US News Report (M.D. Anderson in Houston, Texas was number 1). I am not sure where the hospitals in Boston ranked but you can Google the rankings and find out.

Good luck,

Tina Blondek's picture
Tina Blondek
Posts: 1566
Joined: Nov 2009

Hello Slydog Paul
Welcome to our ec family of fighters and survivors! I was a caregiver for my dad. He lost his battle in March, but he put up a good fight, and had a wonderful year in remission. Everyone is different. Everyone reacts to treatment differently. Do not go by the stats. You are an individual. What works for some, may not work for others. Take this journey one hour at a time. First things first. You know you have cancer, you know where you have cancer, you know what stage it is, now.....find out if you are eligable for surgery, what kind of treatments are available? If you are not happy with the first opinion, by all means, get a second one! Have a good support team. Have a positive mind set. Have a strong faith in God. Pray. Come to these discussion boards often. Do alot of research. Ask alot of questions, write down the answers. Start a journal. You will need to look back on it often. Express your thoughts and feelings, do not hold anything in. We will always be here for you. We will all be praying for you. Keep in touch.

Posts: 40
Joined: Aug 2010

Thanks for the post Tina. My PT Scan results were confirmed today. I will start a chemo routine in around 10 days through a clinical trial at Mass General. As you can imagine I've got a lot on my mind tonight but will take it one day at a time. For me surgery and radiation are not options as the EC has mets to the liver. I hope to post more in the near future but for tonight I am a bit in shock as you can imagine.

Thanks for your interest.


Posts: 8
Joined: Jul 2010

Hi Paul,
My husband was diagnosed in June and we lost time starting treatments due to the insurance process of authorizations. We have finally gotten started with treatments on July 26th. He has had 2 chemo treatments and 9 radiations. The 2nd chemo knocked him with fatigue and last Friday they gave him an IV for hydration in the chemo room.
They have him set up for 40 radiation treatments and 8 treatments of chemo in this first round. He is getting Taxol & Carboplatin. They insisted he needed to have a stent due to the size of his tumor and this was done on 7/13, thankfully, he hasn't had any problems with this and has been able to eat. The problem now is NO appetite and I feel like I am force feeding. Chemo doc put him on 2 new meds to help w/nausea and empty stomach and the other for appetite (not working yet). I remember reading about this being a roller coaster from Hell and they are so right. But you must keep having faith and keep a positive attitude that you can beat the odds.
I wish you the very best and keep in touch with all of us.

Posts: 71
Joined: Aug 2010

Take one day at a time, Do what you have to do, Know that the lord loves you and he is a real loving father, ask anything and except his answer. Know that we have you in our prayers.

God bless.

Posts: 40
Joined: Aug 2010

Thank you for your thoughts. Tomorrow is my first chemo treatment. I'll let you know how it goes.


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