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Esophageal Cancer

Life Expectancy: Stage IV Esophageal Cancer

05/12/2009

Question:

My father has stage IV esophageal cancer. He has had chemo. It took care of the lesion in the liver and also shrunk the tumor in the stomach and esophagus. He will undergo two more rounds of chemo. What kind of life expectancy can my family prepare for?

Answer:

Patients with esophageal cancer who respond to first line chemotherapy do better overall than other patients. Usually we don't keep patients on chemo forever but give a certain number of cycles, then stop and wait. The average time for cancer to progress again is around 4-8 months, and then chemo could be reinstituted. Quality of life depends on whether local cancer in the esophagus is controlled, i.e., whether the patient is swallowing fine and eating okay.

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Response by:

Malek  Safa, MD Malek Safa, MD
Assistant Professor of Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati