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A couple of questions

Posts: 7
Joined: Apr 2013

Hi. My Dad has begun chemo and radiation together to treat his esophageal cancer.  Although the cancer was relatively small and had no spread together with the medical team Dad has decided not to go for surgery at this point.  He is 78 and it is believed the risks (including quite a high chance of reoccurence) are too great at his age.  We are really hopeful for a cure without surgery. 

Anyway he has began treatment which includes radiation and oral chemotherapy 4 days a week and on the fifth day radiation and intravenous chemo.  This regime has been going for two weeks and today they couldn't do the intravenous chemo as his electrolytes were all over the place.  He was put on a drip for a couple of hours and told his bloodwork should be fine by tomorrow but he wont have the iv chemo again until next week.  It is a 5-6 week treatment plan all up. He will continue with the chemo tablets though Just wondering how common this is? 

Also, I am wondering how long it normally takes after treatment begins before swallowing improves.  Dad can still eat most things but has to chew his food very finely in order to avoid discomfort.  This discomfort seems to have got worse since the treatment began which I understand is due to inflammation caused by radiation. 






paul61's picture
Posts: 1269
Joined: Apr 2010

Many of us have had to skip a week of chemo because blood levels were not what they would like to see. Of course the first question we always ask is “will this affect the effectiveness of my chemo?” The answer I have always heard is “no”.

 I am not sure about the duration of treatment before swallowing improves. It tends to vary by treatment protocol and patient. Many people find that radiation inflames the lining of the throat and makes swallowing more difficult. Oncologists often provide pain medication to help with this issue.

Best Regards,

Paul Adams

McCormick, South Carolina

DX 10/2009 T2N1M0  Stage IIB - Ivor Lewis Surgery  12/3/2009 - Post Surgery Chemotherapy 2/2009 – 6/2009

Cisplatin, Epirubicin, 5 FU - Three Year Survivor



Posts: 7
Joined: Apr 2013

Thank you Paul.  It is reassuring to know that these little hiccups are quite normal.  After reading through many of the posts on here it is evident that we are all lucky to have you on this board.



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