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Need Help finding a doctor who can help with a very severe esophageal stricture

Posts: 3
Joined: May 2013

My husband had chemo and radiation a year ago for stage 4a oropharyngeal (esophageal cancer that is high up at the base of the tongue, not the stomach end). He developed a severe stricture almost immediately after radiation was complete. Basically he has been unable to swallow much of anything since except maybe a few thin liquids if he is very careful. He went to 3 different doctors here in the atlanta area who tried to do the esophageal dilation (stretching) thing but they were all unable to do so, even tried using a baby sized peiced of equipment (sorry i dont know what it was called). The opening in his esophagus is evidently extremely small. It is becoming harder now for him to swallow even thin liquids. We are looking for a doctor who is very very good at widening these strictures...someone mentioned the possibility of a Doctor in north carolina who is highly recommended but couldnt give us the name or even the town. Im hoping someone here can help us out? Actually if you know of ANY doctor anywhere who is very good at either stretching (dilating ) the stricture or placing a stent or surgery or anything that would help, please let us know. Husband is really depressed (understandably) about this.

Posts: 761
Joined: Apr 2012

Did you speak with H&N specialists at Emory Winship Cancer Center.  My husband's doctor there is Dr. Wadsworth and he is great.  He is a head and neck specialist.  Treated my husband for laryngeal cancer and had to reconstruct the back of his throat due to radiation.  Then he treated him for cancer at the cervical of his esophagus which reoccurred and spread.   He has done several dilation for my husband and the last one he was really concerned about and talked about having to have another doctor go up thru the peg tube up his esophagus while he would come down the esophagus.  But thankfully that didn't happen.  Now his esophagus is very narrow due to all the radiation (70 rounds) and he is only able to swallow liquids and very soft foods. 


tcaba's picture
Posts: 41
Joined: Nov 2012

In January I began seeing Charles Wilcox at the Kirkland clinic gastroenterology dept.  I am quite satisfied at this point with his treatment of my stricture as a result of surgical scarring.  Mine was not as severe as you indicate but there was considerable difficulty in the initial dilutions. To date I am at number 4 and currently awaiting results of some troublesome biopsies.  Good luck, best wishes and Do Not lose hope!

MartinG5602's picture
Posts: 22
Joined: Jun 2012

My husband's Gastro doctor used cortisone to keep the dilation open....dr. Secor, Presbyterian Hospital, Dallas, Tx  He has never had to go back...this wasa year an a half ago. 

Posts: 3
Joined: May 2013

thanks everyone for the comments. We are still trying to make our way thru all the paperwork. His original surgery was done at Emory Univ Hospital  - actually EMory Crawford Long - in any case we had nothing but problems with them  - to the point I felt we should sue, but my husband (who is much nicer than me LOL) didnt want to put forthe effort. Anyways,  we have no desire to go anywhere near an Emory Doctor. Hate to be picky but you have no idea how bad they were.

We are attempting to get with a Dr Sullivan in North Carolina right now. Thanks for your kind words.

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

Hi Atlanta

Sorry to hear you and your husband are having such a horrible time. I am in Va. I was a caregiver for my dad, who

unfortunately lost his battle with ec/liver cancer in 2010. We used and were satisfied with UVA in Charlottesville, Va.

I have also heard very good things about Duke University in North Carolina. I am also remembering hearing good

things about places in Fl. Best of luck to you and your husband. Keep up the search! Squeaky wheels get the oil! Keep

in touch.


Tina in Va

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