Esophageal Cancer: Questions to Ask


The following are some questions you may want to ask your physician.

  • What type of esophageal cancer do I have?
  • Is my cancer limited to the esophagus?
  • What is the stage of the disease? What does this mean?
  • What are my treatment options?
  • Is surgery required as part of therapy of my localized esophageal cancer?
  • How experienced is the surgeon in this type of surgery?
  • Are there local radiation therapy and surgery options to treat my cancer?
  • Can chemotherapy control my cancer?
  • What is the goal of each treatment?
  • What clinical trials are open to me?
  • What treatment, or combination of treatments, do you recommend and why?
  • What are the possible short-term and long-term side effects of each treatment?
  • What is my prognosis?
  • What follow-up tests will I need and how often will I need them?
  • What support services are available to me? To my family?
  • What tests can diagnose esophageal cancer? Are they painful?
  • How soon after the tests will I learn the results?
  • After treatment, how often do I need to be checked? What type of follow-up care should I have?
  • What type of nutritional support will I need? Where can I get it?
  • Will I eventually be able to resume my normal activities?
  • Who will be involved with my treatment and rehabilitation? What is the role of each member of the health care team in my care?
  • What has been your experience in caring for patients with esophageal cancer?
  • Are there support groups in the area with people I can talk to?