Esophageal Cancer Then and Now

ESOPHAGEAL CANCER  THEN AND NOW                                                                                                              

  • THEN THE YEAR 2000 
    Only basic information available
    Hard to find meanings of staging
    Scarce esophageal cancer awareness
    Difficult to treat
    Survival Statistics dismal
    Generally advanced stage at diagnosis
    Few support groups available –  2 Wonderful sites – EC Café/ EC Support                                                                            
  • How I Learned About Esophageal Cancer
  • My chance encounter with a woman I had not seen in twenty years was instrumental in my introduction to esophageal cancer.
  • When she finished telling me the story about her husband’s death from cancer, I felt compelled ask her what kind of cancer he had and what motivated him to seek medical help. She said he had esophageal cancer and sought medical help because of swallowing difficulties. Her answer triggered the  images of my husband’s multiple episodes of swallowing difficulties. It was the catalyst to convince him to seek medical attention.
  • THEN _SWALLOWING DIFFICULTIES SEEMED TO BE THE PREVALENT INDICATOR TO SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION – OUR EXPERIENCE

  • In November 2000 my husband’s diagnosis from the endoscopy procedure was advanced esophageal cancer. 
  • Next the staging determined whether the purpose of his treatment was curative or palliative.
  • A palliative classification meant no surgery, maintain the symptoms and no cure.
  • His cancer, Stage III T3 which meant,
  • Tumor invaded adventitia, probable N1, which meant, regional lymph node metastasis, adenocarcinoma of the distal esophagus with extension to gastric cardia.
  • He became a candidate for surgery because of no metastasizes to the liver.
  • Recommendations were: chemo-radiotherapy prior to surgical resection.
  • Surgical resection in April 2001, Transthoracic partial esophagectomy, Ivor Lewis Pull-up.
  • Important to us 
  • Treatments and surgery were done at a major medical center and teaching hospital.
  • In 2004,
  • 14,000 new cases of esophageal cancer were diagnosed and more than half of these cases were adenocarcinoma affecting the glands in the lower third of the esophagus.
  • In 2005
  • Researchers reported adenocarcinoma of the esophagus was the fastest rising cancer in the U.S. 
  • The rise of this cancer the researchers suggested might have been attributed to awareness and earlier screening.
  • NOW 2016 – WHAT’S NEW                                                              
  • More Research Online sites ripe with Esophageal Cancer information Awareness
  • Advertisements for Barrett’s Syndrome, and Acid Reflux
  •  Earlier screening means esophageal cancer is treated earlier bettering survival.
  • New Therapeutic drug treatments Online Support Groups
  • Esophageal Cancer Awareness Association excellent for help and support from patient and caregiver warriors.  
  • WHAT HAS NOT CHANGED
    The prevalence of Stage III OR IV AT diagnosis
  • Is listed in the top ten most lethal cancers
  • Still difficult to treat
  • Still waiting for a cure