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Esophageal Cancer

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Esophageal cancer starts in the cells that line the esophagus.

Digestive Tract

DISCHARGE INSTRUCTIONS:

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) for any of the following:

  • You have chest pain when you take a deep breath or cough.
  • You suddenly feel lightheaded and short of breath.
  • You cough up blood.

Seek care immediately if:

  • You vomit multiple times and cannot keep food or liquids down.
  • You feel you cannot cope with your illness.
  • You are bleeding from your mouth or nose.
  • Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.

Call your doctor or oncologist if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You have pain that does not decrease or go away after you take your pain medicine.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Medicines:

You may need any of the following:

  • Antinausea medicine may be given to calm your stomach and prevent vomiting.
  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not take other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to your healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Manage esophageal cancer:

  • Do not use tobacco. Tobacco products may make your symptoms and cancer worse. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help to quit. E-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco still contain nicotine. Talk to your healthcare provider before you use these products.
  • Do not drink alcohol. Alcohol increases the risk for mouth cancer. Alcohol may also make your symptoms worse.
  • Eat healthy foods. Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, and fish. Take small bites, and chew your food well before you swallow. Be especially careful when you eat meat, fruits, and vegetables. You may need to change what you eat during treatment. A dietitian may help to plan the best meals and snacks for you.
  • Drink liquids as directed. If you have nausea or diarrhea from cancer treatment, extra liquids may help decrease your risk for dehydration. Ask how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you.
  • Exercise as directed. Exercise may help increase your energy level and appetite. Ask your healthcare provider how much exercise you need and which exercises are best for you.
    Walking for Exercise

For support and more information:

  • American Cancer Society
    250 Williams Street
    Atlanta , GA 30303
    Phone: 1- 800 - 227-2345
    Web Address: http://www.cancer.org

Follow up with your doctor or oncologist as directed:

You may need to see your oncologist for ongoing tests or treatment. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Esophageal Cancer (Discharge Care)

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.