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What are my chances of surviving esophageal cancer?

Dr. Jill K. Onesti, MD
Surgical Oncologist

Surviving esophageal cancer depends on how healthy you were before developing cancer, what stage the cancer is when it is discovered, and how well the tumor responds to chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Some tumors at early stages are very treatable with high cure rates, whereas distant spread of the cancer is harder to control. Treatment usually involves a combination of chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery. Approximately 30% of patients will have a complete response to chemotherapy and radiation, meaning that there are no remaining tumor cells. Surgery is still recommended for these patients, however, in order to prevent the tumor from coming back.

Data shows that the incidence of esophageal cancer in the United States has increased at the fastest rate of any solid tumor. Esophageal cancer is also one of the most lethal cancers with an overall five-year survival rate of less than 15%.

Upper gastrointestinal cancers, such as esophageal cancer, are a major health burden, with esophageal cancer the eighth most common cancer worldwide.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.