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Stent Questions/Advice Request

Posts: 2
Joined: Nov 2013


My father was diagnosed a couple of weeks ago with stage 4 esophageal cancer (adenocarcinoma) that is apparently inoperable. He had a stent put in on Monday morning (two days ago) and got back to his home yesterday. I just spoke with my mother and he is too weak to get out of bed, has only been able to drink water and some juice and a bit of yogurt since the surgery. He is extremely depressed and I am very worried about him. 

Is this typical after a stent placement? I can't really find anything online or figure out if this is normal in speaking with my mother. Does anyone have any advice or experience with this? We were under the impression that the stent would allow him to finally get some food down (his trouble eating has been rapidly getting worse over the past month). I just can't believe how fast he has gone downhill in the last two weeks and am at a loss for what we can do and am so scared for him.

Thanks in advance for any advice! 

paul61's picture
Posts: 1275
Joined: Apr 2010

I have no personal experience; but a number of cancer survivors have posted their experiences with stents here over the years. Some people find that stents give them the ability to eat again and add valuable time to their journey with cancer. Other survivors have reported issues with pain, food becoming lodged in the stent while eating, and migration of the stent as the chemotherapy and radiation change the size of the tumor in their esophagus.

I have not heard of depression being a specific issue related to stent placement. Of course, depression is clearly and frequently, an issue related to diagnosis of cancer and chemotherapy. Many oncologists have psychologists or social workers as a part of their treatment staff. If your Dad continues to be depressed I would encourage you or your mother to discuss this issue with his oncologist, there are medications that can help with both depression and appetite.  

Remember; they just put a foreign object in your Dad’s throat. He is not sure how swallowing will feel or how well it will work. He is probably feeling some discomfort from the placement and does not want to rush things.

Start your Dad out with things that are easy to swallow but high in protein and and high in calories. Things like Boost and smoothies with added protein powder are often helpful. Keep them in the refrigerator and let him take a few swallows as he feels like it.

From a personal perspective I was extremely depressed for a number of weeks after my initial diagnosis. I went from an active “healthy” lifestyle to a daily existence of doctor’s appointments that contained frequent bad news, medical tests and medications that made me feel ill, and a diagnosis of a disease that had a five year survival statistic of around 15%. Who wouldn’t be depressed? After a while, I decided I could either lie down and die from cancer or live with it.  I chose to live with it.

Give your Dad some time to process his situation and feelings. Encourage him to eat; but don’t nag him about it. If things don’t improve in a week or so, suggest to him that there are medications that may improve his appetite and outlook.

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



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

Hi Lisa and welcome to you your dad and family. My dad had a stent put in his esophagus in 2009. He was diagnosed with stage4 in 2008. He had no real problems with it. He was able to eat again, but not like before. He still had to have small meals, small pieces of food. More drinks, like protein shakes instead of food. Depression will happen. It is only natural. Once your dad has a few weeks with this stent, things should turn around for him. My dad was also inoperable. So it is a matter of prolonging their lives. This stent will help him, but not cure him or his cancer. Make the best of what you all have. Your dad's quality of life is more important than his quanity. Take care, stay as positive as you can, come here often...you can always lean on us! Keep us up to date when you can.

Tina in Va

Posts: 2
Joined: Nov 2013

Thank you both for your responese! It is really nice to hear about others' experiences and have a place to go for some advice/support! He is doing better today and I think he's just going through a lot of emotions.  I am going to try and get him on this forum/other forums or support groups as I think it might really be good for him.  Thanks again!

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